Skip main navigation

SARS-CoV-2 Variants

List of SARS-CoV-2 variants
The table below shows a list of current variants of concern (VOC), variants of interest (VOI) and variants under monitoring (VUM).

The World Health Organisation (WHO) classifies variants according to criteria which includes the variant make up and the spread of the variant virus.

Variants of interest (VOI)

To be considered at VOI, a SARS-CoV-2 variant must meet these two criteria:

  • With genetic changes that are predicted or known to affect virus characteristics such as transmissibility, disease severity, immune escape, diagnostic or therapeutic escape;
  • Identified to cause significant community transmission or multiple COVID-19 clusters, in multiple countries with increasing relative prevalence alongside increasing number of cases over time, or other apparent epidemiological impacts to suggest an emerging risk to global public health.

Variants of concern (VOC)

To be considered a VOC, a VOI must meet one or more of the following criteria, at a level that has a significant effect on public health:

  • Increase in transmissibility or detrimental change in COVID-19 epidemiology; OR
  • Increase in virulence or change in clinical disease presentation; OR
  • Decrease in effectiveness of public health and social measures or available diagnostics, vaccines or therapeutics.

Pango is short for PANGOLIN classification. PANGOLIN stands for Phylogenetic Assignment of Named Global Outbreak Lineages. This is a tool that allows a user to classify a coronavirus based on its genetic relatedness to others. Genetic relatedness is rooted in its genetic lineage (the virus strain which came before it). Phylogenetics is the study of the genetic evolutionary lineage of an organism.

A table enlisting SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. Alpha lineage B.1.1.7 variant of concern first detected in the United Kingdom. Beta lineage B.1.351 variant of concern first detected in South Africa. Zeta lineage P.2 first detected in Brazil. Gamma lineage P.1 variant of concern first detected in Brazil. Eta lineage B.1.525 variant under monitoring first detected in Nigeria. Theta lineage P.3 first detected in the Philippines. Kappa lineage B.1.617.1 fist detected in India. Delta lineage B.1.617.2 variant of concern first detected in India. Lambda lineage C.37 variant of interest first detected in Peru. Mu lineage B.1.621 variant of interest first detected in Colombia. Omicron lineage B.1.1.529 variant of concern detected in multiple sites

Visit VOC reports at and explore where the VOC B.1.1.7/Alpha, B.1.351/Beta, P.1/Gamma, B.1.617.2/Delta, B.1.1.529/Omicron have been reported. Has any of them been reported in your country? Share it with us in the comments.

© COG-Train
This article is from the free online

The Power of Genomics to Understand the COVID-19 Pandemic

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now