News > Coronavirus Variants and Mutations (Updated April 12, 2022)

Tracking SARS-CoV-2 variants

WHO, in collaboration with partners, expert networks, national authorities, institutions and researchers have been monitoring and assessing the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 since January 2020. During late 2020, the emergence of variants that posed an increased risk to global public health prompted the characterization of specific Variants of Interest (VOIs) and Variants of Concern (VOCs), in order to prioritize global monitoring and research, and ultimately to inform the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.



Variants of Concern (VOC)

For these variants, clear evidence is available indicating a significant impact on transmissibility, severity and/or immunity that is likely to have an impact on the epidemiological situation across the globe. The combined genomic, epidemiological, and in-vitro evidence for these properties invokes at least moderate confidence. In addition, all the criteria for variants of interest and under monitoring outlined below apply.




Coronavirus Variants and Mutations

Variants of interest (VOI)

Working definition:
A SARS-CoV-2 variant with genetic changes that are predicted or known to affect virus characteristics such as transmissibility, disease severity, immune escape, diagnostic or therapeutic escape; AND

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.




Date : 08/08/2021 23:45
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