News WHO names B.1.617 variant of global concern SHARE ON: Wendy Gray, staff Monday, May. 10th, 2021 (Supplied by Pixabay) The World Health Organization has officially classified the COVID-19 variant first found in India as a variant of global concern. Officials say the B.1.617 variant has shown signs of increased transmissibility, meaning it is easier to catch. The WHO says the variant was first found in India in December. India reported just over 366,000 new cases of COVID-19 Monday increasing calls for the Prime Minister to lock down the entire country.