The WHO said on Wednesday that the so-called Indian variant of coronavirus has now been detected in 44 countries in all six WHO regions. The UN health agency based its findings on 4,500 samples uploaded on an open-access database.
The variant, which is known as B.1.617, is believed to be one of several factors behind the massive outbreak in infections across India.
Outside of India, the UK has reported the highest number of COVID
cases caused by the Indian variant.
Earlier this week, the WHO declared B.1.617 as a "variant of concern" (VOC), adding it to a list that includes the Brazil, South Africa and UK variants.
WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said there was no data on the impact of the variant on diagnostics, therapeutics or vaccine
effectiveness. However, he said it was "more transmissible."
India saw a record number of people killed by the coronavirus
in the past 24 hours, pushing its death toll over 250,000.
Deaths from COVID
-19 swelled by 4,205, while daily coronavirus
cases rose by 348,421, with India's overall number of cases surging past 23 million, according to the Indian Health Ministry.
About one-third of reported new coronavirus
infections occur in India.