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European Medicines Agency
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European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
Threat Assessment Brief: Emergence of SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617 variants in India and situation in the EU/EEA
11 May 2021
:: First reported in India in December 2020, SARS-CoV-2 lineages B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2 and B.1.617.3 have been increasingly detected in other countries.
:: The aim of this Threat Assessment Brief is to assess the potential public health implications of the B.1.617 lineages for EU/EEA countries with a focus on lineage B.1.617.2.
:: Over the past eight weeks India and some surrounding countries have seen a sharp increase in the number of reported SARS-CoV-2 cases and deaths. This has been associated with a rising proportion of sequenced viruses belonging to lineages B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.2.
:: The United Kingdom has seen a rapid increase in detection of lineage B.1.617.1 and, to a greater extent, B.1.617.2, associated with travel to India and onward community transmission. On the 6 May, the United Kingdom (UK) designated lineage B.1.617.2 as a variant of concern.
:: In the EU/EEA there are indications that the frequency of detection of both lineages B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.2 is increasing.
:: Currently described lineages B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2 and B.1.617.3 have distinct mutation profiles and warrant individual assessment. Given the still very limited available data with respect to their transmissibility, disease severity and immune escape potential relative to other co-circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants in the EU/EEA, the full impact of these lineages on public health is not yet possible to assess.
:: At this time, ECDC maintains its assessment of B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2 and B.1.617.3 as variants of interest and will continue to actively monitor the situation.
Press release 12 May 2021
Coronavirus variants: Commission calls for limiting essential travel from India
The Commission calls on EU Member States to take coordinated action to further restrict travel from India on a temporary basis, with a view to limiting the spread of the B.1.617.2 variant first detected in India.
Press release 11 May 2021
Sahel and Central Africa: €210 million in EU humanitarian aid
The EU is reaffirming its solidarity with vulnerable people in countries in the Sahel and Central Africa through a humanitarian budget of €210 million in 2021.