WHO labels India, other global Covid variants with Greek names

The World Health Organization (WHO) has renamed B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.2 variants of the Covid-19, first identified in India as ‘Kappa & Delta’.

The WHO, while announcing the new naming system “making them simple, easy to say and remember”, said that it is “stigmatising and discriminatory” to call the variants by names of the nations they are first detected in.

The WHO has also named various variants of the coronavirus using Greek alphabets (alpha, beta, gamma, delta etc) to simplify public discussions and also help remove stigma from the names.

Here’s what Greek names WHO has given to different Covid variants across the globe:

Alpha variant: B.1.1.7 variant spotted in the UK in September 2020

Beta variant: B.1.351 variant first found in south Africa in May 2020

Gamma variant: P.1 variant first spotted in Brazil in November 2020

Epsilon variant: B.1.427/ B.1.429 variant spotted in USA in March 2020

Zeta variant: P.2 variant found in Brazil in April 2020.

ETA variant: B.1.525 variant found in multiple countries in December 2020

Theta variant: P.3 variant spotted in Philippines in January 2021

IOTA variant: B.1.526 variant found in USA in November 2020

The World Health Organisation’s move came after India objected to the B.1.617 mutant of the novel coronavirus being termed an “Indian Variant” in media reports with the Union Health Ministry pointing out that the UN’s top health organ has not used the word “Indian” for this strain in its document.

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