World Health Organization (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 as these will be easy-to-pronounce. Under this, the so-called Indian variants of covid-19 has got its name changes under new guidance released by the WHO on Monday.

The Indian variant, known by scientists as B.1.617.2 and B.1.617.1, have been dubbed the 'Delta' and 'Kappa' variant.

The British variant will now be called 'Alpha' as the WHO tries to stop stigmatization of regions that were the first to sequence those new variants of coronavirus.

Notably, these new names/labels do not replace existing scientific names (e.g. those assigned by GISAID, Nextstrain and Pango), which convey important scientific information and will continue to be used in research.

Similarly, the so-called South African variant, known by scientists as B.1.351, is now called the Gamma variant.

WHO label Pango  lineage GISAID clade/lineageNextstrain  clade Earliest documented  samples Date of designation 
Alpha B.1.1.7  GRY (formerly GR/501Y.V1)  20I/S:501Y.V1  United Kingdom,  Sep-2020  18-Dec-2020
Beta B.1.351  GH/501Y.V2  20H/S:501Y.V2  South Africa,  May-2020  18-Dec-2020
Gamma P.1  GR/501Y.V3  20J/S:501Y.V3  Brazil,  Nov-2020  11-Jan-2021
Delta B.1.617.2   G/452R.V3  21A/S:478K  India,  Oct-2020  VOI: 4-Apr-2021 VOC: 11-May-2021 

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