Mon, 14 Jun 2021

New Delhi [India], May 12 (ANI): After several media reports referred to B.1.617 variant as 'Indian Variant', the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday clarified that it does not identify viruses or variants with names of countries they are first reported from.

The UN health body urged all to refer to the variants by their scientific names.

"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 South-East Asia.

The WHO's clarification comes after the Indian government 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 has not associated the term "Indian Variant" with the B.1.617 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 Indian government, in a statement.

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 of the coronavirus as an 'Indian Variant'. These media reports are without any basis, and unfounded," the GoI added.

Earlier today, 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 detections from five additional countries," WHO said in its weekly epidemiological update on the pandemic.

The WHO report also said it has received "reports of detections from five additional countries". (ANI)

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