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Wednesday
May 2021
8:46 PM IST
News Headlines
Tour of Sri Lanka: Two-way fight for India captaincy between Hardik and Shikhar        India projected to grow at 10.1% in 2022 but outlook for 2021 highly fragile: UN        Rockets kill 2 Israelis; 28 die in Gaza as Israel hits Hamas        Delhi reports 12,481 Covid cases, 347 deaths        Kerala woman killed in Palestinian rocket strike in Israel        Kerala''s ''Iron Lady'' K R Gowri Amma no more        Virat Kohli, Ishant Sharma get first dose of vaccination        Sensex surges over 350 pts in early trade; Nifty tops 14,900        Israeli police, Palestinians clash at Jerusalem holy site        Had govt done its job, it would not have come to this: Rahul on foreign aid        Himanta Biswa Sarma sworn-in as 15th Chief Minister of Assam        Obesity and Bariatric Surgery        COVID-19 pandemic: Centre releases Rs 8923.8 cr to Panchayats in 25 states        BJP announces Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma as Assam Chief Minister        Debris from China''s disintegrating rocket falls into Indian Ocean        Kerala poet''s FB account ''suspended'' for posting satire clip on BJP poll defeat        TV journalist Vipin Chandh dies of COVID-19        Kerala adds 35,801 new COVID-19 cases, 68 more deaths        US Navy seizes weapons in Arabian Sea likely bound for Yemen        EU doesn''t renew order for AstraZeneca vaccine        
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International News
''Indian strain'' of coronavirus found in 17 countries: WHO
 
Geneva: The ''Indian strain'' of the coronavirus, also known as B.1.617 or a ''double mutant'', has been found in at least 17 countries, the WHO has said, as the world grapples to contain the surge in the COVID-19 cases with 5.7 million infections detected last week, surpassing previous peaks. The B.1.617 variant of SARS-CoV2 or the ''Indian strain'', feared to be contributing to a surge in coronavirus cases in India, has been designated as the Variants of Interest (VOI) by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the UN health agency said in its weekly epidemiological update on Tuesday. "As of 27 April, over 1,200 sequences have been uploaded to GISAID and assigned to lineage B.1.617 (collectively) from at least 17 countries," it said, adding that most sequences were uploaded from India, the United Kingdom, USA and Singapore.

GISAID is a global science initiative and primary source established in 2008 that provides open-access to genomic data of influenza viruses and the coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. "Emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants within Pango lineage B.1.617 were recently reported as a VOI from India and have recently been designated as VOIs by WHO," it said. The WHO said that studies have highlighted that the spread of the second wave has been much faster than the first in India. "Preliminary modelling by WHO based on sequences submitted to GISAID suggest that B.1.617 has a higher growth rate than other circulating variants in India, suggesting potential increased transmissibility, with other co-circulating variants also demonstrating increased transmissibility," the report by the global health body said.

"Other drivers may include challenges around the implementation and adherence to public health and social measures (PHSM), and social gatherings (including mass gatherings during cultural and religious celebrations, and elections). Further investigation is needed to understand the relative contribution of these factors," it said. In many cities in Maharashtra - the worst-hit state in India - the B.1.617 variant was found in more than 50 per cent of samples on which genome sequencing was conducted, Sujeet Singh, the Director of the National Centre for Disease Control, had said in a webinar on genome sequencing last week. The B.1.617 variant comprises several sub-lineages, including B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2 and B.1.617.3, which slightly differ by their characteristic mutations, the WHO report said.

Both B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.2 were first identified in India in December 2020, and have been detected at increasing prevalence concurrent to the major upsurge observed in the country. B.1.617.3 was first detected in India in October 2020, but relatively fewer viruses matching this sub-lineage have been reported to date, the report said. The B.1.617 variant has three new spike protein mutations. Two mutations -- E484Q and L452R -- are in the area important for antibody-based neutralisation. The third mutation -- P681R -- allows the virus to enter cells a little better. These are defining characteristics of the variant. Covishield and Covaxin - the two coronavirus vaccines currently in use in India - have efficacy against the ''Indian strain'' and show "milder" illness in case of infection post vaccination, Anurag Agrawal, the Director of the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), said, citing preliminary results of a study.

The WHO said that globally, new COVID-19 cases increased for the ninth consecutive week, with nearly 5.7 million new cases reported in the last week, surpassing previous peaks and India accounts for 38 per cent of the global cases reported during the period. The number of new deaths increased for the sixth consecutive week, with over 87,000 new deaths reported. For the third consecutive week, the South-East Asia region reported the highest relative increases in both case and death incidences. "While a number of countries in the region are reporting upward trends, India accounts for the vast majority of cases from this regional trend and 38 per cent of global cases reported in the past week," it said.

With 52 per cent increase, India has reported the highest number of new cases (21,72,063) followed by the US (406,001 new cases; 15 per cent decrease), Brazil (404,623 new cases; 12 per cent decrease), Turkey (378,771 new cases; 9 per cent decrease), and France (211,674 new cases; 9 per cent decrease).


Rockets kill 2 Israelis; 28 die in Gaza as Israel hits Hamas
Israeli police, Palestinians clash at Jerusalem holy site
Debris from China''s disintegrating rocket falls into Indian Ocean
US Navy seizes weapons in Arabian Sea likely bound for Yemen
EU doesn''t renew order for AstraZeneca vaccine
In tense Jerusalem, flag-waving Israeli march to go ahead
Nepal PM Oli to seek vote of confidence in Parliament on Monday
WHO China chief says approval for 1st Chinese vaccine a ''milestone achievement''
Disintegrated space rocket ''highly unlikely'' to cause any damage on earth: China
Russia has registered Sputnik Light, the single-dose vaccine against COVID-19
Brunei marks 1 year without COVID-19 local transmission
China silent on falling debris of its space rocket amid rising concerns
Netanyahu again fails to form new Israeli government
Nepal''s Oli govt loses majority support after Maoist party withdraws support
Facebook board upholds Trump suspension
Twenty-five killed in boat accident in Bangladesh
Nepal to suspend international and domestic flights to contain spread of coronavirus
44 killed in stampede at Jewish religious festival in Israel
Lawyer representing Navalny''s foundation detained in Moscow
Chinese mainland reports 13 fresh nCoV cases
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
George Clooney says Capitol attack put Trump family 'into the dustbin of history'
 Los Angeles: Hollywood star George Clooney has condemned the attack on the Capitol Hill in the US by  
'Mean Girls' won't be returning to Broadway
Ian McKellan is 'happy' Elliot Page came out as transgender
A R Rahman thanks fans for support during 'difficult times'
KERALA NEWS
Kerala woman killed in Palestinian rocket strike in Israel
 Idukki: A Keralite woman working in Israel was killed allegedly in a Palestinian rocket strike on Tu
Kerala poet''s FB account ''suspended'' for posting satire clip on BJP poll defeat
TV journalist Vipin Chandh dies of COVID-19
Kerala adds 35,801 new COVID-19 cases, 68 more deaths
NATIONAL NEWS
Delhi reports 12,481 Covid cases, 347 deaths
 New Delhi: The national capital continues to register a dip in daily COVID-19 cases, as the city rec
Had govt done its job, it would not have come to this: Rahul on foreign aid
BJP announces Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma as Assam Chief Minister
Mumbai civic body is suppressing COVID-19 death toll: Fadnavis
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