A new naming system for Covid variants is being proposed by the World Health Organization. It will not change the existing terms, but it will simplify the designation of the strains found in South Africa, Great Britain, and India.
According to the BBC, WHO will use Greek letters to designate options: British – Alpha, South African – Beta, Indian – Delta. The organization announced that, in addition to simplifying terms, the innovation is intended to remove stigma from names, not to use Indian, British and so on to designate variants of terms.
Although, for example, WHO did not officially use the name Indian, the Government of India has expressed complaints about the spread of the name “Indian variant”. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead on Covid-19, told STAT News:
“No country should be stigmatized for discovering and reporting options. We are not talking about replacing B.1.1.7, but really just trying to help in dialogue with the average person. So that in public discourse we can discuss some of these options in easier-to-use language. “
A complete list of terms is published on the official WHO website. The letters of the Greek alphabet will not replace scientific names. If more than 24 variants of the coronavirus are officially identified, and the system runs out of Greek letters, then WHO will announce a new naming program, says Ms Van Kerkhove.
On Monday, a British government consultant noted that the country appears to be in the early stages of the third wave of the Delta (Indian strain) coronavirus. The researchers note that this variant is much more contagious than the Alpha (British strain).