WHO names COVID-19 variants 1st found in India as 'Kappa' and 'Delta'

WHO names COVID-19 variants 1st found in India as Kappa and Delta

United Nations/Geneva: The B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.2 variants of the COVID-19, first identified in India, have been named as 'Kappa' and 'Delta' respectively by the WHO as it named various variants of the Coronavirus using Greek alphabets to simplify public discussions and also help remove stigma from the names.

The World Health Organisation's move on Monday came nearly three weeks after India objected to the B.1.617 mutant of the novel Coronavirus being termed an "Indian Variant" in media reports with the Union Health Ministry pointing out that the UN's top health organ has not used the word "Indian" for this strain in its document.

The UN health agency named the B.1.617.1 variant of the COVID 19 as 'Kappa' while the B1.617.2 variant was dubbed 'Delta.'

Both the variants were first found in India.

Taking to Twitter, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO's technical COVID-19 lead, on Monday said: "Today, @WHO announces new, easy-to-say labels for #SARSCoV2 Variants of Concern (VOCs) & Interest (VOIs). They will not replace existing scientific names, but are aimed to help in public discussion of VOI/VOC .

The WHO, while announcing the new naming system making them simple, easy to say and remember , said that it is stigmatising and discriminatory to call the variants by names of the nations they are first detected in.

The labels do not replace existing scientific names, which convey important scientific information & will continue to be used in research. The naming system aims to prevent calling COVID-19 variants by the places where they are detected, which is stigmatizing & discriminatory, the WHO said in a tweet on Monday.

The Geneva-based global health agency encouraged countries and others to adopt these names as they will ease public discussions about the global COVID-19 Variants of Concern and Interest.

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