The Nepali government on Tuesday confirmed the presence of four variants of COVID-19 in Nepal, including those which are more infectious and can spread among all age groups of people, APA reports citing Xinhua.
The presence of two variants, namely B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.2, both first spotted in India, was established during the gene sequencing of 35 samples at India's CSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO), according to Nepal's Ministry of Health and Population.
The first variant was affirmed in a single sample while the second was found in 34 samples, the ministry said in a press statement.
"As Nepal has already reported the presence of both the original and one first spotted in the United Kingdom, total variants of coronavirus found in Nepal are four," Dr. Hemanta Chandra Ojha, chief of the Zoonotic and Other Communicable Disease Control Section at the Health Ministry, told Xinhua. "By leaving the original one, there is the presence of three new variants."
The Nepali ministry said the variants first spotted in India are more dangerous and infectious and can spread among all the age groups.
On May 10, the WHO classified the coronavirus variant first found in India as a "variant of global concern." According to the UN agency, preliminary studies show the B.1.617 mutation spreads more easily than other variants and requires further study, and it has already spread to more than 30 countries.
The total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nepal now stand at 472,354, with 5,411 deaths.