As reported recently, India’s new COVID-19 variant B.1.617 has now been detected in Indonesia. Head of Genetics Working Group from UGM Faculty of Medicine Gunadi asked the public to stay vigilant, keep following health measures as advised, and not panic amid the current situation.
“Don’t panic, stay vigilant, and let’s comply with health protocols to help prevent the spread of these new variants,” he said, Thursday (20/5).
Per May 11, 2021, WHO has classified B.1.617 status from variant of interest (VOI) to variant of concern (VOC). The change of status signals a warning for the global community to keep their guard up against the spread of this more transmissible variant. There are four variants of concern globally categorized by WHO, namely UK variant B.1.1.7, South Africa B.1.351, and Brazil P.1.
WHO advised officials to closely monitor those four variants of concern to examine their impacts on the development of the pandemic. Countries across the globe could increase their VOC surveillance by multiplying whole genome sequencing (WGS).
“We have to pay attention to this new variant as now it has been in the country and increased to the VOC category,” he concluded.