WHO Names Covid-19 Variants

  • 04 Jun 2021

The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced Greek alphabetical labels to identify different strains of Covid-19 that have emerged across the world.

  • The WHO's decision to rename Covid variants came nearly three weeks after India objected to the B.1.617 variant being termed an "Indian variant" in media reports.
Variants Country of First Detection Name
B.1.1.7 UK Alpha
B.1.351 South Africa Beta
B.1.617 India
B.1.617.1 Kappa
B.1.617.2 Delta
  • The first such variant of concern, which first appeared in Britain and can be also known as B.1.1.7, will be known as the "alpha" variant.
  • The second, which turned up in South Africa and has been referred to as B.1.351, will be known as the "beta" variant.
  • A third variant that first appeared in Brazil will be called the "gamma" variant.
  • The variant B.1.617, first found in India, is split into sub-lineages, of which the B.1.617.1 variant of concern becomes 'Kappa'. The B.1.617.2 variant of interest is called 'Delta'.