What does India really want now?

New Corona variant comes from India

In India, the number of new infections has increased rapidly. With a total population of over 1.38 billion people, around 270,000 new infections are now registered every day. No one can yet say whether and to what extent the new variant B.1.617 is responsible for the rapid increase, but it is reasonable to assume that it has something to do with the new type of mutation.

What role do the virus variants play?

In many cases, a new virus variant was involved when new corona infections skyrocketed in a country. Some experts have already warned of a kind of super mutation in the Indian variant that could spread quickly, even across continents. The SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach also warned against this variant, which was spreading particularly quickly: "A Covid catastrophe is looming in India".

The Indian variant B.1.617 has already appeared in other countries. This includes Germany, but also Belgium, Great Britain, the USA, Australia and Singapore. In Great Britain, for example, there have already been 77 cases of the Indian variant, according to the British Ministry of Health.

In India, a new Corona variant is causing concern

Why can the Indian virus variant become dangerous?

The new version 1.617 contains two mutations of the so-called spike protein. It makes it easier for the dangerous SARS-CoV-2 to enter the body and thus enables infection. And it can potentially spread faster around the body because it can escape the antibodies that the immune system or vaccines make.

There is a risk that people who have recovered from a corona infection, but also those who have been vaccinated, may be less protected from being infected with the Indian variant than is the case with other variants.

Special features of the Indian variant

The mutants of the Indian variant are named E484Q and L452R. They are not unknown changes. E484Q is similar to E484K and already appeared in the South African variant B.1.353 and in the Brazilian P1. In some cases the mutation could also be detected in the British variant B.1.1.7.

The Indian variant of the corona virus has already spread in Europe

The L452R mutation, on the other hand, can be found in the California variant B.1.429. It could also be detected in a line that circulated in Germany.

Different assessments

The WHO classifies the Indian variant as a “variant of interest”. That is, it is being monitored but is not currently viewed as a matter of concern by the organization. Dr. Jeffrey Barrett, director of the Covid-19 Genomics Initiative at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, points out that the Indian variant has not really spread that much in the last few months, which in his opinion makes it more likely that it is not as transferable as B .1.1.7.

However, a number of scientists see it differently. The development seems to prove them right. In the Indian state of Maharashtra, over 60 percent of all corona infections can now be traced back to B.1.617. Genome sequencing has shown that. At the same time, however, the state health authority raises concerns that the number of sequencing operations carried out is still too low to be able to draw clear and unambiguous conclusions as to whether the increase in the number of infections is actually due to B.1.617.

  • One year of Corona: pandemic graffiti from all over the world


    Street artists specialize in commenting on current events with their own style. This graffito comes from Wuhan, where the virus probably originated. You can see two doctors in protective gear holding the Chinese flag and making the peace sign. The city was cordoned off from the public for months to stop the virus from spreading.

  • One year of Corona: pandemic graffiti from all over the world


    This is what the brotherly kiss looks like between the USA and China in times of Corona. This work in Berlin shows Donald Trump and the Chinese President Xi Jinping in April 2020. It satirizes the famous kiss of Brezhnev and Honecker, which street artist sprayed onto the Berlin Wall in the middle of the Cold War in 1981. Today there is only a leftover piece of it, the East Side Gallery.

  • One year of Corona: pandemic graffiti from all over the world


    This nurse from St. Petersburg is crowned heroine in the fight against the virus by the graffiti artist. At the same time, the two arms are reminiscent of a halo. In this way, the nurse graffito becomes an icon painting of the pandemic.

  • One year of Corona: pandemic graffiti from all over the world


    The virus doesn't stop at anyone, not even this Indian deity. That's why she wears a mask too. Incidentally, India's government was one of the first to impose an entry ban because of the corona virus.

  • One year of Corona: pandemic graffiti from all over the world


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  • One year of Corona: pandemic graffiti from all over the world


    John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson are a legendary duo in the cult film "Pulp Fiction" by Quentin Tarantino. The two professional killers don't pull the Colt but the selfie stick to take a photo. The mask is also the new Hollywood accessory for the acting stars. This graffito can be seen in Madrid. Spain's capital was particularly hard hit by the corona virus.

  • One year of Corona: pandemic graffiti from all over the world

    Gaza Strip

    While vaccination is proceeding rapidly in Israel, hardly any vaccine arrives in the Gaza Strip. It is all the more important to wear a mask. But because Gaza has one of the youngest populations in the world, there are many infected people there, but only a few deaths related to Covid-19. International organizations also confirm this. This work is from Rafah.

  • One year of Corona: pandemic graffiti from all over the world


    Street art is also a simple but effective way of reaching people with important messages. This graffito in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa is intended to remind passers-by to wear a mask. This should cover both the mouth and the nose, as the arrows indicate.

  • One year of Corona: pandemic graffiti from all over the world

    Ivory Coast

    In Abidjan, coastal metropolis on the Ivory Coast, a graffito indicates the hygiene regulations. In the West African country, the pandemic had a relatively minor impact with 206 deaths (as of March 10, 2021).

  • One year of Corona: pandemic graffiti from all over the world


    The Netherlands took a zigzag course in dealing with the mask requirement. It was lifted during the 2020 summer vacation, but then the numbers skyrocketed in the fall. This graffito seems to want to say: "Have a heart for the Netherlands, please wear a mask."

    Author: Sabine Oelze