‘Kappa’ and ‘Delta’: WHO gives names to Covid-19 variants found in India

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday announced news labels, using Greek alphabets, for various variants of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), also giving names to the two variants that have been found in India thus far.

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“Labelled using Greek alphabets, WHO announces new labels for Covid variants of concern (VOC) and interest (VOI),” news agency ANI quoted the world health body as saying. “Covid variant first found in India will be referred to as Delta, while earlier found variant in the country will be known as Kappa,” WHO further said.

According to WHO, the B.1.617.1 variant has been designated as “Kappa” while the B1.617.2 variant has been dubbed “Delta.” The earliest samples from both the variants from both the variants were documented in October 2020, it said.

The labels, said WHO’s technical Covid-19 lead Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, don’t replace existing scientific names, which, she said, convey important scientific information and will continue to be used in research. “No country should be stigmatised for detecting and reporting Covid variants,” Dr Kerkhove said further.

The B1.617.2 or “Delta” variant, reports of whose unofficial nomenclature after India were dismissed by the central government, is seen as the cause behind the devastating second Covid-19 wave in the country.

Also Read | WHO has not termed B.1.617 as Indian variant, says Centre

At the peak of the second wave, in April, India reported more than 100,000 Covid-19 cases in a day for the first time, and also went on to see more than 400,000 cases in a single-day, as well as more than or close to 4,000 related fatalities daily. However, in the last few days, the number of fresh infections have fallen below the 200,000-mark.

Also Read | Covid mutation in India ‘variant of concern’, says WHO

In the last 24 hours, India’s infection tally rose by 152,734 cases, while the death toll increased by 3,128 fatalities, according to the Union ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW) dashboard at 8am on Monday.

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