Coronavirus Variant Discovered in India is Renamed Delta

If you haven’t yet mastered the name of the latest coronavirus variant to set nations on edge — B.1.617.2, as evolutionary biologists call it — then fear not: The World Health Organization has proposed a solution.

The group said on Monday that it had devised a less technical, and more easily pronounceable, system for naming variants — the mutated versions of the virus that have driven new surges of infections around the world.

Variants will be assigned letters of the Greek alphabet in the order in which they are designated potential threats by the W.H.O.

B.1.617.2, for example, which has contributed to a deadly surge in India, has been named Delta under the new system. That variant may spread even more quickly than B.1.1.7, the variant discovered in Britain that has contributed to devastating waves of cases globally. (B.1.1.7’s new name is Alpha.)

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