The Delta variant of the coronavirus has become the most dominant strain globally, as the other three variants of concern make up for a tiny fraction when sequenced, the WHO has said.
“Less than one percent each of Alpha, Beta and Gamma are currently circulating. It’s really predominantly Delta around the world,” Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organisation’s technical lead on Covid-19 was quoted as saying.
While addressing a WHO social media live media interaction, she added that the Delta variant is now prevalent in more than 185 countries, and “has become more fit, it is more transmissible and it is out-competing, it is replacing the other viruses that are circulating”.
All viruses mutate over time, including SARS-CoV-2. The WHO categorises them as variants of interest and the more virulent ones as variants of concern.
Moreover, the WHO decided to name the variants after the letters of the Greek alphabet, to avoid countries being stigmatised from where the variants originated.
Van Kerkhove said besides the four variants of concern, there are also five variants of interest, while three of them – Eta, Iota and Kappa – have now been downgraded to variants under monitoring.