A small-scale study on 113 healthcare workers who had received at least one vaccine dose at a private hospital in Delhi found that 18 tested positive for Covid but all except one had mild symptoms. Of the 113 in the study, 107 had received the second dose of the vaccine.
Taken in percentage form, the study found that breakthrough infections — Covid infection in vaccinated individuals — occurred in 15.9 per cent (18 persons) of the vaccinated individuals and 95 per cent had mild symptoms. Of these, 17 incurred the infection after the second dose. According to the study, of the breakthrough infections in 18 persons, 17 incurred the infection after the second dose. These 17 had got their second dose after a mean of 34.8 days following the first jab.
A World Health Organization official said Monday it is reclassifying the Indian Sars-Cov-2 variant B.1.617 as a “variant of concern,” indicating that it’s become a global health threat. Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead for Covid-19, said the agency will provide more details in its weekly situation report on the pandemic Tuesday but added that the variant, known as B.1.617, has been found in preliminary studies to spread more easily than the original virus and there is some evidence it may able to evade vaccines.
“as such we are classifying this as a variant of concern at the global level,” she said during a press conference. “Even though there is increased transmissibility demonstrated by some preliminary studies, we need much more information about this virus variant in this lineage in all of the sub lineages, so we need more sequencing, targeted sequencing to be done.”
Five residents of a care home in Borsbeek in Antwerp province have been infected with the so-called Indian variants of Covid-19, according to the Flemish Agency for Health and Care. One of those affected has died. All of the home’s residents have been fully vaccinated.
In three of the cases involved in the new outbreak, the Indian variant has been confirmed, and it is supposed the same goes for the other two. One has since died, and another is in hospital.
Covid-19 deaths In India rose by more than 4,000 for a second consecutive day on Sunday (May 9) as calls for a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the virus mounted. India’s health ministry reported 4,092 fatalities over the past 24 hours, taking the overall death toll to 242,362. New cases rose by 403,738, just shy of the record and increasing the total since the start of the pandemic to 22.3 million.
An estimated 35,000–40,000 people were killed outright by the bombing at Nagasaki.
Early indications from an analysis of the growth of the B.1.617 variant of the Covid-19 virus has shown it to be at least twice as infectious as the UK variant and thrice as infectious as the variant behind last year’s Covid-19 wave.
Scientists involved in the whole genome sequencing as part of the Centre’s Covid-19 genomic surveillance exercise told The New Indian Express that this conclusion is based on the growth of this mutant, as compared to others, in districts where B.1.617 has been identified along with other variants in samples collected from infected individuals.
“We have been examining this data carefully and the way this lineage of virus, also called the double mutant, is growing as compared to others is remarkable,” said a senior scientist involved in the INSACOG project, a consortium of several institutions under the National Centre for Disease Control that carry out an extensive genomic surveillance. “For the public, what needs to be communicated very clearly is that there is a greater need to double mask and maintain social distancing as this virus is highly infectious.
** Update ** Tom Wenseleers: “Based on this data, the new variant from India has a very big transmission or growth advantage,” even over B.1.1.7, he says. “It’s kind of like the U.K. variant squared.”
UK GOV: “B.1.617.2 has spread rapidly in India based on available data. There have been multiple importations to the UK and onwards transmission within the UK. In some regions, S gene target data suggests that this variant may be more frequent than is indicated by the current sequence data, due to the lag in sequencing, and may have replaced B.1.1.7 to some extent. Modelled growth estimates suggest that the variant is at least as transmissible as B.1.1.7. Further analyses are required with targeted comparator groups and improved correction for importation to refine the position on transmissibility. Some early laboratory data suggest limited antigenic change. There are insufficient data as yet to assess reinfection or vaccine effectiveness through national surveillance.”
Mobile Covid-19 testing units are being rolled out in Bolton as surge testing gets underway in the borough’s coronavirus hotspots. People in Rumworth, Deane or Great Lever are being urged to get tested at the units. Infection rates in those areas have increased, with Rumworth South seeing cases rocket by 500 per cent, with an infection rate of 359.3 per 100,000 people. In Lever Edge, part of Great Lever, cases have increased by 40 per cent.
Bolton currently has the second highest infection rate in the UK.
Nepal recorded a total of 9,196 new cases of coronavirus infection in the past 24 hours. According to the Ministry of Health and Population, 9,023 persons have been tested positive for COVID-19 through the RT-PCR method while 173 have been tested positive through the Antigen method. According to the Ministry, 3,089 persons in Kathmandu, 643 in Lalitpur, and 374 in Bhaktapur have been tested positive for the pandemic virus, making the capital valley’s fresh coronavirus cases 4,106 in past 24 hours.
According to the Ministry, 50 people have succumbed to COVID-19 related death in past 24 hours taking the death tally to 3,579 as of Friday afternoon.
Following a rise in cases in the UK and evidence of community transmission, PHE has reclassified B.1.617.2 as a Variant of Concern (VOC). This is based on evidence which suggests this variant, first detected in India, is at least as transmissible as B.1.1.7 (the Kent variant). The other characteristics of this variant are still being investigated.
Cases of B.1.617.2 have increased to 520 from 202 over the last week and almost half the cases are related to travel or contact with a traveller. The cases are spread across the country, however, the majority of the cases are in 2 areas – the North West (predominantly Bolton) and London – and this is where we are seeing the greatest transmission.
The UK government is thought to have detected more than 40 clusters of the Indian Covid variant B.1.617 in the UK, and is on the verge of declaring it a “variant of concern”. The mutant strain is thought to be driving the massive surge of infections in India.
Professor Christina Pagel: [B.1.617] rapidly became dominant in India and, again the sequenced data there is sparse, but early modelling shows that it might well be more transmissible than our B.117 Kent strain. ‘What we have also seen in India is that B.1.617.2 is becoming the dominant subtype – exactly the same pattern we see here in the UK. ‘While this could reflect the situation in India through importation, the Sanger data tries to exclude travel related cases or surge testing and we still see the rise of B.1.617.2 in that’.
** NOTE: B.1.617.2 carries the T478K mutation according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
See also Bioxriv preprint: Preliminary report on SARS-CoV-2 Spike mutation T478K
Nepal’s daily coronavirus case is still closely tracking that of its neighbour India, Nepal may also be in need of assistance with medical supplies and equipment to alleviate suffering within the next 7 days.
“Nepal Health Ministry says situation unmanageable as hospitals run out of beds The country’s health system cracks as coronavirus cases surge, crossing the 5,000 mark.” Kathmandu Post Report
Prof. Malavige said that currently, over 95% of the samples from Colombo, Kurunegala and Kalutara give an ‘S drop’, suggesting that these infections are due to this variant [B.1.1.7]. This variant appears to have completely displaced Sri Lanka’s own virus (B.1.411) within a very short period of time (10 days), showing that it is highly transmissible compared to the previous strain.
“There is a strong possibility that a ‘new variant of concern’ of the coronavirus which is highly transmissible and also causing severe disease is currently circulating in Sri Lanka,” said Prof. Neelika Malavige, Head of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine, University of Sri Jayewardenepura.
This variant seems to have displaced the variants of Sri Lankan lineage which have been circulating so far, says Prof. Malavige going onto explain that certain changes are detected in some RT-PCR assays, when there is a variant.
“One of these changes is a so-called ‘S drop’ that occurs due to mutations that are seen in certain variants such as the UK variant (B.1.1.7). However, sequencing or targeted detection of these mutations that occur in these variants is essential to confirm which variant it is. The results of sequencing are expected next week,” she said.
She cautioned that a further COVID-19 blow will come in about 10-14 days, when the number of infected due to disregarding health precautions during avurudu, will surface.
Authorities in Nepal are grappling to contain the rapid rise of COVID-19 cases with experts fearing that thousands of people in the Himalayan state have caught the more infectious mutant strains emerging out of India. Nepal, which shares a long porous border with India, reported 3,032 new infections on Sunday, the highest daily number recorded this year.
It took the total caseload since the pandemic first struck Nepal to 300,119 with 3,164 deaths so far, according to government data.
“We have detected the UK variant and the double mutant variant detected in India,” Krishna Prasad Paudel, the director of Nepal’s Epidemiology and Disease Control Department Paudel told Reuters news agency, adding that experts were checking for other variants too.
SEE UPDATE 01/05/2021: