The coronavirus B.1.617 strain has recently been declared a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization (WHO), with scientists saying the strain first seen in India is more transmissible. The variant has been largely blamed for the furious second wave in India that has set new records of daily infections and deaths, overwhelming the healthcare system.
Here's what we know about it:
The B.1.617 variant of SARS-CoV-2 virus, having three sub-lineages (B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2, B.1.617.3), has a higher rate of transmission, WHO says.
Rapid increases in prevalence across several countries has been observed and that is why it is now a "variant of concern (VOC)" at the global level.