New names of COVID-19 variants | Fusion - WeRIndia

New names of COVID-19 variants

New names of COVID-19 variants

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced new labels for different variants of COVID-19. These include both COVID variants like variants of concern (VOC) and interest (VOI).

Currently, these variants are called with the names of counties in which they were found. Many countries are objecting to calling them with their country names.

For instance, the B.1.617.2 strain, which was found in India, being referred to as the ‘Indian variant’. The government of India issued an advisory earlier asking media platforms to remove all content referring to this strain as the ‘Indian variant’.

The Modi government released a statement saying that WHO had not associated the term ‘Indian Variant’ with the B.1.617 strain. Hence media platforms were asked to remove the term, and the content referred to the strain as the ‘Indian variant’.


Several social media platforms also termed it as the ‘Singapore variant’ of the coronavirus. Hence, the Singapore government also issued directions in this regard, asking to remove the term.

In this context, WHO announced new labels for various strains of COVID-19 and assigned Greek alphabets. From now on, they are called Greek alphabets.

As per this announcement, the B.1.617.1 variant is named Kappa and B1.617.2 variant is termed Delta.

The variant found in America, B.1.1.7 is termed as Alpha, the variant found in South Africa, B.1.351 found in South Africa is referred to as Beta, and the variant found in Brazil, P.1 is named Gamma.

The labels do not replace current scientific names since they have been used in the research. They remain to be the same for studies.

The main purpose of naming these variants with Greek alphabets is to prevent their association with the names of countries. Hence, there is no need to be stigmatized for any country to detect and report if they find any variants of COVID-19 in their country.

Photo by Tmaximumge from Pxhere (Free for commercial use / CC0 Public Domain)


Image Reference: https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1608796

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