A new report suggests there’s a COVID-19 variant in the country of Nepal, but health officials said they’re not aware of such a mutation.
Is there a Nepal variant?
The Daily Mail — a U.K. tabloid — reported that the U.K. government has feared an emerging Nepal variant of the coronavirus that could make vacation travel dangerous for people.
- According to The Daily Mail, U.K. scientists found 20 British people had the Nepal COVID-19 variant, calling it “an evolved version of the Indian strain.”
- The Daily Mail said U.K. health officials will announce its arrival to the U.K. on June 3.
What did the World Health Organization say?
The World Health Organization’s Nepal Twitter account said in a statement that there is no indication of a Nepal variant.
- “WHO is not aware of any new variant of SARS-CoV-2 being detected in Nepal,” the statement said. “The confirmed variants in circulation are: Alpha (B.1.1.7), Delta (B.1.617.2) and Kappa (B.1.617.1). The predominant variant currently in circulation in Nepal is Delta (B.1.617.2).”
New names for COVID-19 variants
Here’s a breakdown of the new names:
- Variant B.1.1.7 — which was first identified in Kent, the United Kingdom — is now called Alpha.
- Variant B.1.351 — which was first identified in South Africa — is now called Beta.
- Variant P.1 — which was first found in Brazil — is now called Gamma.
- Variant B.1.617.2 — which was first discovered in India — is now called Delta.