The World Health Organization on Tuesday said that vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics continue to be effective against the B.1.617 variant of the coronavirus, which was first detected in India, ANI reported. The health body’s representative to India, Roderico H Ofrin made the remark based on discussions with experts.

The statement from Ofrin came a day after the WHO classified the B.1.617 variant, or the “double mutant” strain as a variant of global concern. The WHO’s technical lead on Covid-19, Maria Van Kerkhove said there was information available to suggest “increased transmissibility” of the variant.

On Tuesday, Ofrin said that while the variant has showed signs of being more transmissible, it was not certain if it had played a role in the massive surge in coronavirus cases in India in the second wave of the pandemic.

“There has been increase in detection of this variant along with an increase and surge in Covid-19 cases in India,” Ofrin said. “However, the relative contribution in the rapid increase of this country remains unclear.”

On Monday, WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan had also said that vaccines, diagnostics and the same treatments that are used for the regular virus work for the B.1.617 variant too.

Meanwhile, the WHO on Wednesday said that the variant has been detected in more than 4,500 samples from 44 countries across all six regions of the UN body, AFP reported. The number is a significant increase since the last such update, when the WHO in April classified the strain as a “variant of interest” and said that it was detected in at least 17 countries. Outside India, the United Kingdom logged the highest number of Covid-19 cases caused by the variant, the WHO said in its weekly epidemiological update on the pandemic.

The B.1.617 of the Covid-19 is the fourth variant to be designated as one of global concern that requires more tracking and analysis. The three others strains were first detected in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil.

The WHO has said the predominant lineage of B.1.617 was first identified in India in December, although an earlier version was spotted in October 2020.