The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Tuesday, June 1, said that only one strain of the COVID-19 Delta variant, which was first detected in India and considered responsible for the devastating second wave, was considered to be of concern.
It downgraded the status of the other two strains stating that the other two lineages had lower rates of transmission.
The B.1.617 variant was termed a triple mutant variant which divided into three lineages - B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2, and B.1.617.3.
"It has become evident that greater public health risks are currently associated with B.1.617.2, while lower rates of transmission of other lineages have been observed," WHO said, reported Economic Times.
The B.1.617.2 variant remained a variant of concern since the virus can turn out to be more fatal than the original version owing to an enhanced transmissibility rate and holding potential to get past the vaccine protections.
Greek Names For The Virus Variants
To prevent stigmatising countries for detecting virus variants, the WHO on Monday, May 31, announced that the COVID-19 variant found in India would be referred to as 'Delta Variant'.
The variant "earlier found" in India will be known as "Kappa", the WHO stated.
The 'variants of concern' would be referred to by Greek alphabets and will not replace the existing scientific names. The new nomenclature would aid public discussion and reduce the stigma around the countries where the variants first emerged, said Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead of COVID-19 at WHO.
So far, four coronavirus variants have been deemed as 'variants of concern'. The first which originated in the UK, scientifically known as B.1.1.7, would be called the 'Alpha' variant. The second known as B.1.351 which originated in South Africa would be called the 'Beta' variant. The third variant would be known as the 'Gamma' variant which originated in Brazil and the fourth would be called the 'Delta' variant which originated in India.
India's health ministry had objected to the variant being called 'India variant' which has caused the recent surge of infections in the country.