Indian virus variant ‘steadily increasing’ in Germany

Indian virus variant 'steadily increasing' in Germany
A man receives a coronavirus test in Hanover. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Julian Stratenschulte
Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI) is observing a small but growing proportion of the virus variant first discovered in India.

The Covid-19 mutant B.1.617, newly classified as a cause for concern, has so far been detected in only a few samples in Germany, “but its proportion has been steadily increasing in recent weeks,” according to an RKI report on Wednesday evening

So far, its share in the samples tested is less than two percent, according to the RKI. 

The variant B.1.1.7, originally detected in Britain, by far remains the dominant mutation found in Germany. As in previous weeks, this variant accounts for more than 90 percent of the samples tested. 

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Variants B.1.351 (originally from South Africa) and P.1 (detected initially in Brazil), which are also classified as worrying, continue to play a minor role: according to the RKI, their share in recent weeks has remained constant at 0 to 1 percent and 0 to 0.3 percent, respectively. 

On Friday Germany reported a decrease in Covid-19 cases, with the lowest 7-day incidence of the virus (96.5) since mid-March.

READ ALSO: New Covid infections in Germany drop below critical incidence of 100

The Indian variant has recently been classified as a concern by the World Health Organization (WHO). 

But the RKI says there is currently still a lack of knowledge on how dangerous the variant is.

Experts are particularly concerned with the question of whether variants cause increased transmission from one person to another, and if vaccines are effective against them. 

India is experiencing a dramatic surge in Covid cases, with hundreds of thousands of infections being reported daily among its population of 1.38 billion people. Several countries, including Germany, are providing medical supplies and support.

Germany banned travel from India in April, allowing only citizens and residents to enter.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: The current travel rules between Germany and India

Vocabulary

proven/detected – nachgewiesen

worrying/concerning – besorgniserregend

classified – eingestuft

sample – (die) Probe

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