The move comes after officials in New Delhi objected to it. Kovid Strain B.1.617.2 is being termed the “Indian version”. From now on the Indian version will be known as “Delta”, the UK one as “Alpha” and the South African strain as “Beta”. WHO officials say this will make discussion about variants easier but names will also help remove some stigma.
WHO’s COVID-19 technical chief Maria Van Kerkhove tweeted: “No country should be stigmatized for detecting and reporting variants.”
If more than 24 variants are identified, a potential problem may arise, as the Greek alphabet does not contain more than 24 letters.
Should that happen, the WHO would have to think of a new naming system, Ms. van Kerkhov told State News in an interview.
He stressed that scientific names will still be used by COVID experts.
“We are not saying to replace B.1.1.7, but to actually try to help with some dialogue with the average person,” she explained to the US news site.
“So that in public discourse, we can discuss some of these forms in more easy-to-use language.”
The infection rate is relatively low at this time and is not comparable to the epicenters such as Bolton and Blackburn.
Deepti Gurdasani told The Guardian that the situation was “completely predictable”.
clinical epidemiologist at Queen Mary University in London said: “When the government was claiming that these outbreaks were localized, it was very clear that B.1.617.2, while at different frequencies in different regions, was growing rapidly throughout England, which meant that the version was also there. Will be effective where it was ‘doesn’t come back again and again in a few weeks – and that’s exactly what happened.”
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