Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Also of Concern to WHO

The World Health Organization has classified a SARS-CoV-2 variant identified in India as a "variant of concern," the Wall Street Journal reports.

The B.1.617 variant is the fourth one to be given that label, following the B.1.1.7 variant found in the UK, the B.1.35 variant uncovered in South Africa, and the P.1 variant found in Brazil. According to the Journal, the WHO came to this decision based on preliminary findings suggesting that B.1.617 may be more transmissible than other variants.

India is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases, with more than 366,000 new cases reported on Monday, according to the Journal. This sharp rise in cases raised concerns that it is being fueled by viral variants. Soumya Swaminathan, the WHO's chief scientist, tells it that, anecdotally, it appears that if "one person in the family gets it, the whole family seems to get it," in contrast to earlier waves of the pandemic. "And so I think what we're seeing is more transmissible," Swaminathan adds.

The UK public health agency has likewise deemed B.1.617 to be a variant of concern, though the US considers it a variant of interest, the Journal adds.

The Scan

More Boosters for US

Following US Food and Drug Administration authorization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, the Washington Post writes.

From a Pig

A genetically modified pig kidney was transplanted into a human without triggering an immune response, Reuters reports.

For Privacy's Sake

Wired reports that more US states are passing genetic privacy laws.

Science Paper on How Poaching Drove Evolution in African Elephants

In Science this week: poaching has led to the rapid evolution of tuskless African elephants.