The letters of the Greek alphabet will henceforth be used instead of the place where the said variant was first discovered, which may have proved to be stigmatizing or discriminating in the past. We will therefore no longer speak of the “British variant” but of the “Alpha” variant. The South African variant will be called “Beta”, the Brazilian “Gamma” and the Indian variant “Delta”. If the 24 letters of the Greek alphabet were to be exhausted, then other similar sequences will be used.
WHO points out that the new designations do not replace scientific names – for example, the British variant or “Alpha” is officially referred to as B.1.1.7. The organization has been working for months with many experts on simpler names for the variants of the coronavirus.
WHO will include the variants with their new name on its website.