UK elevates Indian COVID strain to 'variant of concern'
The B.1.617.2, classified as a Variant Under Investigation (VUI) on April 28, is now known as VOC-21APR-02 after it was found to be at least as transmissible as the so-called Kent variant, detected in England last year and the dominant variant in the UK so far.
“Cases of VOC-21APR-02 have increased to 520 from 202 over the last week and almost half the cases are related to travel or contact with a traveller,” Public Health England (PHE) said.
Following a rise in UK cases and evidence of community transmission, we've reclassified VUI-21APR-02 (a #COVID19 variant first detected in India) as a Variant of Concern.
The cases are spread across the country, however, the majority of the cases are in two areas the north west of England, predominantly Bolton, and London where the greatest transmission of the variant has been observed.
However, PHE said there is insufficient evidence to suggest if the variant is also more dangerous in that it can escape vaccine protection. ■