The World Health Organization has announced the introduction of a new system for marking coronavirus mutations, namely the letters of the Greek alphabet, instead of the names of the places where they were first detected. This is stated on the WHO website.
“Countries and agencies should use easy-to-pronounce and non-stigmatising labels for Variants of Interest (VOIs) and Variants of Concern (VOCs). At the present time, this expert group convened by WHO has recommended using labeled using letters of the Greek Alphabet, i.e., Alpha, Beta, Gamma, which will be easier and more practical to discussed by non-scientific audiences,” the statement says.
For example, the WHO proposed to call the British strain B.1.1.7 as Alpha, and the South African B.1.351 - Beta, the Brazilian P.1 - Gamma, and the Indian B.1.617.2 – Delta.
“No country should be stigmatized for detecting and reporting variants,” WHO Technical Director for Covid-19 Maria Van Kerkhove wrote on Twitter.
Today, @WHO announces new, easy-to-say labels for #SARSCoV2 Variants of Concern (VOCs) & Interest (VOIs)— Maria Van Kerkhove (@mvankerkhove) May 31, 2021
They will not replace existing scientific names, but are aimed to help in public discussion of VOI/VOC
Read more here (will be live soon):
As it was reported earlier, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has presented a classification of several dozen coronavirus mutations that had been detected worldwide to date. Mutated viruses were divided into categories: variant of concern (VOC), variant of interest (VOI), or variant under monitoring.
Earlier, India has detected a new “double mutant variant” of the novel coronavirus, the health ministry said, adding to concern as the government struggles with the highest single-day tally of new infections and deaths this year. Genome sequencing and analysis of samples from Maharashtra state found mutations in the virus that do not match previously catalogued “variants of concern” (VOC).