Two COVID-19 variants found in India have been named as ‘Kappa’ and ‘Delta’. 

While the B.1.617.1 variant has been named as ‘Kappa’, the B.1.617.2 variant has been named as ‘Delta’. 

The names of the two variants were announced by the World Health Organization (WHO). Both the variants were first found in India. 

“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,” Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical COVID-19 lead, tweeted. 

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“Expert group convened by WHO has recommended using labelled using letters of the Greek Alphabet, i.e., Alpha, Beta, Gamma, which will be easier and more practical to discussed by non-scientific audiences,” WHO said in a statement.  

“The established nomenclature systems for naming and tracking SARS-CoV-2 genetic lineages by GISAID, Nextstrain and Pango are currently and will remain in use by scientists and in scientific research,” the statement added. 

WHO also said: “The naming system aims to prevent calling COVID-19 variants by the places where they are detected, which is stigmatizing and discriminatory.”

It added: “WHO encourages countries and others to adopt these names as they will ease public discussions about global COVID-19 Variants of Concern and Interest.”

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