The Indian government Wednesday opposed the branding of B.1.617 Covid variant as "Indian variant", pointing out that the word "Indian" was never used by the World Health Organization (WHO)
The Indian government Wednesday opposed the branding of B.1.617 Covid variant as "Indian variant", pointing out that the word "Indian" was never used by the World Health Organization (WHO).
"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," said an official statement.
"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 government clarification quoted by IBNS.
The WHO also tweeted saying that viruses or variants should not be identified with the names of the countries they were found in.
"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," it tweeted.
The UN health body has said that the B.1.617 has "increased transmissibility" or spreads faster. So far, it has been found in 44 countries, the organisation has said.
Last Monday, WHO classified it as a "variant of concern" at the global level. Before that the it was classified as "variant of interest".
WHO has already classified the coronavirus strains found in Britain, Brazil and South Africa as "variants of concern".
The B.1.617 is called a double mutant because the virus's genome underwent changes twice called E484Q and L452R.
Experts have attributed the B.1.617 doublr mutant strain as the leading cause of Covid-19 spurt in India.