No 'Indian variant': WHO frowns on national nomenclature for COVID-19 types
The virus strains are referred to by the organisation by their scientific names, WHO said. For instance, it is the B.1.617 coronavirus strain and not the "Indian COVID-19 variant".
May 12, 2021 / 03:03 PM IST
Representational image (Source: Reuters)
The World Health Organization (WHO) clarified on May 12 that it does not identify viruses or its variants with the names of countries they are first reported from.
The virus strains are referred to by the organisation by their scientific names, WHO said.
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare also issued a statement on May 12 saying: “Several media reports have covered the news of World Health Organisation (WHO) classifying B.1.617 as variant of global concern. Some of these reports have termed the B.1.617 variant of the coronavirus as an ‘Indian Variant’.
The Health Ministry added: “These media reports are without any basis, and unfounded…. The WHO has not associated the term ‘Indian Variant’ with the B.1.617 variant of the novel coronavirus in its 32-page document. In fact, the word ‘Indian’ has not been used in its report on the matter.
According to the World Health Organization, the B.1.617 variant of coronavirus, first detected in India in October 2020, has been found in sequences uploaded from 44 countries in all six WHO regions.
WHO said in its weekly update on the coronavirus pandemic: "As of May 11, over 4,500 sequences have been uploaded to GISAID (platform of data sharing mechanism for influenza) and assigned to B.1.617 from 44 countries in all six WHO regions, and WHO has received reports of detections from five additional countries." Follow our coverage of the coronavirus crisis here