Only one subline of the delta variant of COVID-19, first discovered in India, is still considered a “concern”, while two others have been reduced by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The B.1.617 variant was renamed Delta and is believed to be partly responsible for the spread of the epidemic in India, which has since spread to more than 50 territories, with three distinct sublines.
The WHO last month classified the entire variant as a “concern”, but said on Tuesday that only one subline should be considered.
“It is clear that more losses to the public are associated with B.1.617.2, and lower transmission rates have been observed with other transmission lines,” the WHO said in its weekly epidemiological update on the epidemic.
B.1.617.2 Residues of anxiety, along with three other variants of the virus, are considered to be far more dangerous than the original version because it may not be more contagious, lethal or vaccine-resistant.
The WHO on Monday assigned the Greek alphabet to the scientific names of various variants, such as alpha, beta, gamma, or delta, in the case of B.1,617. The initiative is aimed at avoiding “stigma and discrimination” names, especially for the countries and territories in which they appear.
“We continue to observe a significant increase in transmissibility and the number of developing countries associated with this variant,” the WHO said, adding that it was “a priority” to conduct “new studies” on its impact.
Dr. Maria van Kerkhov, technical manager of the fight against COVID-19 in the agency, said on Tuesday that the new hybrid variant reported by Vietnamese health officials on Saturday looks like a variant of the Delta.
“We know that B.1.617.2, from the Delta variant, has increased transmissibility, which means it can spread more easily among the public,” she said.
Subline B.1.617.1, on the other hand, was reduced to the “variant of interest” category and named Kappa.
As for B.1.617.3, it is no longer considered interesting by the WHO and has not been assigned the Greek alphabet because it is relatively rare.