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Explained: Not Indian Variant, it’s called “Delta”, WHO renamed Covid Variants in Greek words

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For the time being this list was created and all variants are given Greek letters but in the future WHO may come up with another series list

Ground Report | New Delhi: World Health Organization WHO renamed Covid variants in Greek alphabets to avoid stigmatization and released lists of new names for various covid strains on Monday. Now, these variants will not be called by the name of the place where it was originated. The B.1.617 and B.1617.2 variants of covid were first found in India to be named “Kappa” and ” Delta”.

WHO came up with a decision nearly three weeks after Govt. of India objected to the B.1.617 variant being termed as an “Indian Variant ” by global media. Although the scientific name of these strains will remain the same. Maria Van Kerkhove, Covid-19 Technical Lead at WHO stated in her tweet “The label doesn’t replace existing scientific names, which convey important scientific information and will continue to be used in research.”

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What are the new names of Covid-19 variants?

WHO has released the full list of new names of Covid-19 variants on its website and categorized all variants of Covid-19 into two labels, Variant of Interest (VOI) and Variants of Concerns (VOC).Under the label of VOC, WHO has named four Covid strains. The UK /Kent (B.1.1.7), South Africa (B.1.351), Brazil (P.1), and India (B.1.617.2) Variants have been given the letter Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta respectively to represent their sequence of detection. Other variants have been labeled under the Variants of Interest and the B.1.617.1 Variant discovered first in India has now been known as “Kappa”.

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Why covid-19 variants are re-named? And why in Greek?

As a result of the pandemic and links between Covid and the first outbreak site in Wuhan, China, anti-Asian hate crime has increased in Europe and the USA. Moreover, According to WHO “scientific names can be difficult to say and recall, and are prone to misreporting. As a result, people often resort to calling variants by the places where they are detected, which is stigmatizing and discriminatory.” To avoid this and simplify public communication, WHO has decided to name the variants. 

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These labels were chosen following extensive collaboration and consideration of a variety of possible naming systems. To do so, WHO brought together a collection of experts from throughout the world, including members of existing name systems nomenclature and virus taxonomy experts,  researchers, and national authorities. 

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What will happen when 24 letters exhausted?

For the time being this list was created and all variants are given Greek letters but in the future WHO may come up with another series list. Van Kerhove said “When the 24 letters of the Greek alphabet have been exhausted another series like this will be announced. 

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