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Not 'Indian Variant', WHO Clarifies Virus Needs to be Called by Scientific Name

An effigy of coronavirus, in Mumbai. File photo: PTI

An effigy of coronavirus, in Mumbai. File photo: PTI

The clarification came after the Centre said the WHO has not associated the term "Indian Variant" with the B.1.617 variant.

After media reports referred to B.1.617 variant as ‘Indian Variant’, the World Health Organisation on Wednesday put out a tweet saying it does not identify viruses or variants with names of countries they are first reported from.

“WHO does not identify viruses or variants with names of countries they are first reported from. We refer to them by their scientific names and request all to do the same for consistency," tweeted WHO.

The clarification came after the Centre said the WHO has not associated the term “Indian Variant" with the B.1.617 variant, which was first found in India, in its weekly epidemiological update on the pandemic.

“This is to clarify that WHO (/topic/who) has not associated the term “Indian Variant" with the B.1.617 variant (/topic/b1617-variant) of the coronavirus in its 32-page document. In fact, the word ‘Indian’ has not been used in its report on the matter," said the Government, in a statement.

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It further informed that several media reports have covered the news of WHO classifying B.1.617 as a variant of global concern.

“Some of these reports have termed the B.1.617 variant (/topic/b1617-variant) of the coronavirus (/topic/coronavirus) as an ‘Indian Variant’. These media reports are without any basis, and unfounded," the statement added.

Earlier in the day, a WHO report had said the B.1.617 variant of Covid-19 had been detected in sequences uploaded “from 44 countries in all six WHO regions".

“As of 11 May, 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 detection from five additional countries," WHO said in its weekly epidemiological update on the pandemic.

The WHO report also said it has received “reports of detection from five additional countries."

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first published:May 12, 2021, 16:08 IST