The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said only B.1.617.2, one of the three strains of the B.1.617 COVID-19 variant first detected in India, is a cause of concern now.
The B.1.617 variant was first detected in India and was divided into three lineages — B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2 and B.1.617.3.
In the COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update published on Tuesday, WHO said available findings for lineages B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.2 were initially used to designate B.1.617 a global Variant of Concern on May 11 this year.
“Since then, it has become evident that greater public health risks are currently associated with B.1.617.2, while lower rates of transmission of other lineages have been observed,” a PTI report said, quoting WHO.
The UN health agency said that to reflect this updated information, B.1.617 has been ‘delineated’.
“B.1.617.2 remains a VOC and labelled variant Delta — we continue to observe significantly increased transmissibility and a growing number of countries reporting outbreaks associated with this variant. Further studies into the impact of this variant remain a high priority for WHO.”
The Delta variant has now been reported in 62 countries around the world as of June 1, the update said.
The B.1.617.3 lineage is “no longer classified as either a VOI or VOC — relatively few reports of this variant have been submitted to date”.
On Monday, the WHO announced the new naming system for key COVID19 variants and the labels are based on the Greek alphabet (i.e. Alpha, Beta, Gamma, etc), “making them simple, easy to say and remember”.
The update further said that India reported the highest numbers of new COVID-19 cases in the past week at 1,364,668, a 26 per cent decrease compared to the previous week.