Francois Balloux, professor of computational systems biology and director of the Genetics Institute at University College London, said given the low number of cases reported it was impossible to say whether it was more transmissible, more lethal or if it was likely evade vaccines.
But he added: “Given that it has remained at very low frequency everywhere where it has been identified strongly suggests it is not more transmissible than its delta progenitor.”
India’s second wave continues to gradually subside, and the country is currently reporting around 50,000 new daily infections. In early May, India saw a peak of over 400,000 new daily cases.
No sudden resurgence in infections in India
Doctors told the Telegraph they were yet to see a sudden resurgence in infections that would indicate the spread of a new, more transmissible variant.
“Cases have been declining and we haven’t seen a recent spike in admissions. But, we have to be vigilant, as we don’t know enough about this new variant yet,” said Dr Rommel Tickoo, associate director at Max Healthcare, one of India’s leading private hospital chains.
The Indian government received heavy criticism for not reacting fast enough to warnings about the emergence of the delta variant in the spring, and it is understood the authorities will take an overly cautious approach in the future.