Global recap – Variants of Concern

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Global recap – Variants of Concern

The World Health Organisation in collaboration with partners, expert networks, national authorities, institutions and researchers have been monitoring and assessing the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 since January 2020.

During late 2020, the emergence of variants that posed an increased risk to global public health prompted the characterisation of specific Variants of Interest (VOIs) and Variants of Concern (VOCs), in order to prioritise global monitoring and research, and ultimately to inform the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

WHAT IS A VARIANT 

A variant is a slightly altered – or mutated – version of a virus. There are thousands of Covid variants around the world which is to be expected because viruses mutate all the time.

VARIANTS OF CONCERN 

– Delta (first defected in India in October 2020)

– Alpha – (first detected in U.K. in September 2020, it’s about 50 percent more transmissible)

– Beta (first defected in South Africa in May 2020)

– Gamma (first detected in Brazil in November 2020)

– Epsilon (first defected in California in July 2020)

– Eta (first detected in U.K. and Nigeria in December 2020)

– Lota (first defected in New York in November 2020)

– Kappa – (first defected in India in December 2020)

– B.1.617.3 (first defected in India in October 2020)

– Zeta (first detected in Brazil in April 2020)

– Mu – (first detected in Colombia in January 2021)

– Omicron – (first detected in South Africa on 24 November 2021)

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