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Coronavirus variants are spreading in India — what scientists know so far

#Coronavirus variants including #B1617 have been linked to India’s surge in infections.

Article in Nature describes what we know so far about the threat that the new coronavirus strains pose.

Scientists are working to understand several coronavirus variants now circulating in India, where a ferocious second wave of #COVID19 has devastated the nation and caught authorities unawares. The country recorded nearly 400,000 new infections on 9 May, taking its total to more than 22 million (see ‘Surging cases of COVID-19’).

Evidence is growing that one variant first detected in India might be more transmissible and slightly better at evading immunity than existing variants. Animal models also hint that it might be able to cause more severe disease. Researchers want to know if this variant and others might be driving the second wave and what kind of danger they pose globally.

In just a few weeks, the B.1.617 variant has become the dominant strain across India and has spread to about 40 nations, including the United Kingdom, Fiji and Singapore.

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Photo: People queue to refill oxygen cylinders for people with COVID-19 at overwhelmed medical facilities in New Delhi.

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