List of variants

List of variants#

(last updated 06.06.2022) This is a list of the main variants of the SARS-CoV2 virus. It does not include all types and it might change frequently. However it helps to translate the Pango lineage to WHO names and ‘street’ names.

Pango lineage Street name WHO name Letter Year/months first detected
B.1.1.7 British Alpha α September 2020
B.1.351 South Africa Beta β September 2020
P.1 (B.1.1.28) Brasil Gamma γ December 2020
B.1.617.2 India Delta δ December 2020
B.1.427 / B.1.429 USA / California Epsilon ε September 2020
P.2 Brasil Zeta ζ January 2021
B.1.525 British / Nigeria Eta η December 2020
P.3 Philippines Theta θ January 2021
B.1.526 / B.1.526.1 USA Iota ι October-December 2020
B.1.617.1 / B.1.620 India / Unclear Kappa κ December 2020
C.37 Peru Lambda λ December 2020
B.1.621 Columbia Mu μ January 2021
Nu ν
Xi ξ
B.1.1.529 South Africa Omicron ο November 2021
BA.1 South Africa Omicron ο November 2021
BA.2 South Africa Omicron ο November 2021
BA.3 South Africa Omicron ο November 2021
BA.4 South Africa Omicron ο January 2022
BA.5 South Africa Omicron ο February 2022
BA.2.12.1 South Africa /USA Omicron ο February 2022
Pi π
Rho ρ
Sigma σ
Tau τ
Upsilon υ
Phi φ
Chi χ
Psi ψ
Omega ω

Visualization of variants#

There are two interesting visualizations of different Covid-19 variants. First of all there is a visualization showing the distance between different variants. Eric Topol published this image on Twitter:

Variants distance

It shows the distances between the different variants from each other and the wild type in the center of the graph. Obviously SARS-COV2 is developing in different directions and Omnicron is bringing it further away from the wild type. That is especially a concern as all of he todays vaccines are made for this wild type.
He and Emma Hodcroft of Nextstrain are a great source of information a worth to follow on Twitter (see links).
Beside this the timeline of the distribution of the different variants (shown vertically in the graph for the Netherlands) is interesting:

Variants timeline

Obviously BA.4, BA.5 and BA.2.12.1 are growing their shares recently.

List of variants of concern and interest#

The ECDC provides a list of variants of concern as well as the list of variants of interest. The latter might become a variant of concern after more information have been gathered. You will find the list here.
To get an idea of the geographical distribution og the variants in Europe you can review the following map.