The World Health Organization (WHO) said Tuesday that the Indian coronavirus variant has been confirmed in 49 different countries.
The WHO said there are studies to suggest that B.1.617, the variant currently devastating India, spreads quicker than the original virus.
The impact the variant has had on India, which is seeing record-breaking numbers of new cases, and its increase in cases in other countries has upgraded it to a “variant of concern” by the WHO.
The United Kingdom has seen the second-largest number of cases of the B.1.617 variant.
“As of 5 May, the United Kingdom has reported 520 genomically confirmed B.1.617.2 cases,” according to the WHO.
It is still unknown how this variant might impact the effectiveness of coronavirus vaccines.
India was responsible for around 50 percent of global new coronavirus cases and 30 percent of deaths over the past week, the WHO said.
Aid is being sent to India from all over the world to deal with the rapid increase in cases, which experts say is also due to relaxed coronavirus restrictions and an insufficient vaccine rollout.