WHO renames coronavirous variants with Greek letters

(VOVWORLD) - The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced a new naming system for variants of Covid-19. 
WHO renames coronavirous variants with Greek letters - ảnh 1The labels will not replace existing scientific names but are designed to make discussions easier and remove stigma. (GETTY IMAGES)

From now on the WHO will use Greek letters to refer to variants first detected in countries like the UK, South Africa and India. The UK variant for instance is labelled as Alpha, the South African Beta, and the Indian as Delta.

Earlier this month the Indian government criticised the naming of variant B.1.617.2 - first detected in the country last October - as the "Indian variant", though the WHO had never officially labelled it as such.

The WHO said this was to simplify discussions but also to help remove some stigma from the names. "No country should be stigmatised for detecting and reporting variants," the WHO's Covid-19 technical lead, Maria Van Kerkhove, tweeted.

Letters will refer to both variants of concern, and variants of interest. A full list of names has been published on the WHO website.

These Greek letters will not replace existing scientific names. If more than 24 variants are officially identified, the system runs out of Greek letters, and a new naming programme will be announced, Ms Van Kerkhove said.