The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the mutant of the coronavirus that appeared in India as a "worrying variant".
This was announced by leading WHO scientist Maria Van Kerkhove on Monday evening.
So far, the UN authority in Geneva had only called the so-called British, South African and Brazilian variants that way.
"Available information indicates increased portability" of the Indian variant with the designation B.1.617, said Van Kerkhove.
According to preliminary study results, the human immune system could also react less strongly to this variant, she said.
The WHO divides Covid variants into two categories: variants under observation ("variants of interest"), which are widespread, and worrying variants ("variants of concern").
The latter are more contagious or difficult to fight, or lead to more severe disease courses.
But there is still no evidence that virus tests, drugs or vaccines are less effective against the Indian variant, said Van Kerkhove.
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