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Possibly as Transmissible

Officials in the UK say that the B.1.617.2 variant of SARS-CoV-2 may be transmitted as easily as or even more easily than the B.1.1.7 variant that was identified in the UK, New Scientist reports.

Earlier this week, the World Health Organization classified the B.1.617 variant uncovered in India as a "variant of concern," based on preliminary findings that it may be more transmissible than other variants. B.1.617.2 is a sublineage of B.1.617, New Scientist notes, adding that there have been 520 cases in the UK tied to the variant.

It further reports that the University of Cambridge's Sharon Peacock said that Public Health England is moderately confident that the B.1.617.2 variant is at least as transmissible as the B.1.1.7 variant, which was itself found to be more transmissible than other variants.

The Guardian adds that a new, though small, analysis from the Real-time Assessment of Community Transmission (REACT) Study team observed the B.1.617.2 variant at a similar rate to the B.1.1.7 variant in London. "It seems to be circulating, at least in London, and it is at least as transmissible as the Kent [B.1.1.7] variant. We need to understand more about it," Paul Elliott, director of the REACT study at Imperial College London, tells it.