Among many other difficult tasks, WHO has to name new diseases without touching on anyone's toes. So it has now renamed the COVID variants using letters of the Greek alphabet, all to make life easier for 'non-scientific' audiences.
The Delta variant - or the B.1.617.2 strain - is the primary cause behind the second wave of COVID-19, a study found. The B.1.617 variant and its lineage B.1.617.2 were primarily responsible for that surge in cases with high transmissibility of 50 percent more than the Alpha variant (B.1.1.7), the study said.
The study was undertaken by scientists of INSACOG (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genome Sequencing Consortia) and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The Delta variant has infected most in Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha and Telangana.
The second wave of COVID-19 hit India in April with the daily tally rising to 4 lakh cases and fatalities above 4,000. So far, India has reported 2,85,74,350 cases, 2,65,97,655 recoveries, and a death toll of 3,40,702 since the pandemic broke out in March 2020. Experts believed that the second wave is on the wane as the positivity rate is below 10 percent since the last week.
The World Health Organisation had named the B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.2 variants of the COVID-19, first identified in India, as 'Kappa' and 'Delta' respectively using Greek alphabets to simplify public discussions and also help remove stigma from the names. The WHO's move came nearly three weeks after India objected to the B.1.617 mutant of the novel coronavirus being termed an "Indian Variant" in media reports with the Union Health Ministry pointing out that the UN's top health organ has not used the word "Indian" for this strain in its document.