SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern as of 3 December 2021

ECDC regularly assesses new evidence on variants detected through epidemic intelligence, rules-based genomic variant screening, or other scientific sources. If a decision is made to add, remove, or change the category for any variant, the tables are updated to reflect this change. The tables are regularly sent for consultation to ECDC and WHO Regional Office for Europe’s joint virus characterisation working group. The rules-based genomic screening is performed using an open source algorithm. The weekly ECDC variant surveillance data report can be found in the weekly COVID-19 country overviews published on ECDC’s website. On 10 June 2021 ECDC published “Rapid Risk Assessment: Assessing SARS-COV-2 circulation, variants of concern, non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccine rollout in the EU/EEA, 15th update” and on 23 June 2021 “Threat Assessment Brief: Implications for the EU/EEA on the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 Delta (B.1.617.2) variant of concern”.

Description of the tables

The tables include:

Category: variant of concern (VOC), variant of interest (VOI), or variant under monitoring (VUM) (see definition above each table). Note that it is a possible for a VOC, VOI or VUM to also be a part of a broader VOC, VOI, or VUM definition, e.g. B.1.617.2+E484X is also a part of B.1.617.2, this means that there is enough evidence to fulfil the VOC, VOI or VUM criteria for this variant using the broader variant as a reference.

  1. WHO label: As of 31st May 2021, WHO proposed labels for global SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and variants of interest to be used alongside the scientific nomenclature in communications about variants to the public. This list includes variants on WHO’s global list of VOC and VOI, and is updated as WHO’s list changes.
  2. Lineage and additional mutations: the variant designation specified by one or more Pango lineages and any additional characteristic spike protein changes. An alternate description may be used if the variant is not easy to describe using this nomenclature. For updated information on Pango lineages and definition of lineages and for instructions on how to suggest new lineages, visit the Pango lineages website. Each lineage in then table is linked to the respective lineage page on the Pango lineages website.
  3. Country first detected: only present if there is moderate confidence in the evidence relating to the first country of detection.
  4. Spike mutations of interest: not all spike protein amino acid changes are included – this is not a full reference for assignment of the variants. It includes changes to spike protein residues 319-541 (receptor binding domain) and 613-705 (the S1 part of the S1/S2 junction and a small stretch on the S2 side), and any additional unusual changes specific to the variant.
  5. Year and month first detected: as reported in the GISAID EpiCoV database. This can be adjusted backwards in time if new retrospective detections are made.
  6. Evidence concerning properties in three different categories:
    • Transmissibility
    • Immunity
    • Infection severity
      The evidence is annotated to indicate whether it is derived from the variant itself (v) or from mutations associated with the variant (m). Evidence that is deemed “low confidence” is annotated to indicate that it is unclear. An empty field means that we have not yet found and evaluated any scientific evidence for the category, while “no” indicates evidence that there is no change associated with the property. The comparator virus assumed “wild-type’” is B.1 (with D614G and no other spike protein changes).
  7. Transmission in the EU/EEA: categorised as dominant, community, outbreak(s), and sporadic/travel. The categories are qualitative, and the assessment is based on surveillance data collected in TESSy, GISAID EpiCoV data, epidemic intelligence data, and direct communications with the affected countries.

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 in the EU/EEA. 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.

WHO label

Lineage + additional mutations

Country first detected (community)

Spike mutations of interest

Year and month first detected

Evidence for impact on transmissibility

Evidence for impact on immunity

Evidence for impact on severity

Transmission in EU/EEA

 

Beta

B.1.351

South Africa

K417N, E484K, N501Y, D614G, A701V

September 2020

Yes (v) (1)

Yes (v) (2, 3)

Yes (v) (4, 5)

Community

 

Gamma

P.1

Brazil

K417T, E484K, N501Y, D614G, H655Y

December 2020

Yes (v) (6)

Yes (v) (7) 

Yes (v) (5)

Community

 

Delta

B.1.617.2

India

L452R, T478K, D614G, P681R

December 2020

Yes (v) (8)

Yes (v) (9-11)

Yes (v) (10, 12)

Dominant

Omicron
B.1.1.529
South Africa and Botswana (x) November 2021   Yes (v) (13)   Sporadic/Travel

 

x: A67V, Δ69-70, T95I, G142D, Δ143-145, Δ211, ins214EPE, G339D, S371L, S373P, S375F, K417N, N440K, G446S, S477N, T478K, E484A, Q493R, G496S, Q498R, N501Y, Y505H, T547K, D614G, H655Y, N679K, P681H, N764K, D796Y, N856K, Q954H, N969K, L981F

All sub-lineages of the listed lineages are also included in the variant, e.g., C.37.1 is included in Lambda as it is a sub-lineage of C.37.

Variants of Interest (VOI)

For these variants, evidence is available on genomic properties, epidemiological evidence or in-vitro evidence that could imply a significant impact on transmissibility, severity and/or immunity, realistically having an impact on the epidemiological situation in the EU/EEA. However, the evidence is still preliminary or is associated with major uncertainty. In addition, all the criteria for variants under monitoring outlined below apply.

WHO label

Lineage + additional mutations

Country first detected (community)

Spike mutations of interest

Year and month first detected

Evidence for impact on transmissibility

Evidence for impact on immunity

Evidence for impact on severity

Transmission in EU/EEA

Mu

B.1.621

Colombia

R346K, E484K, N501Y, D614G, P681H

January 2021

Yes (m) (14)

Yes (m) (15)

 

Sporadic/Travel

Lambda

C.37

Peru

L452Q, F490S, D614G

December 2020

 

Yes (v) (16, 17)

 

Sporadic/Travel

n/a

AY.4.2

United Kingdom

L452R, T478K, D614G, P681R, A222V, Y145H

June 2021

Yes (v) (18)

No (v) (18, 19)

No (v) (18)

Community

 

n/a: not applicable, no WHO label has been assigned to this variant at this time

All sub-lineages of the listed lineages are also included in the variant, e.g., AZ.1 is included in B.1.1.318 as it is a sub-lineage of it.

Variants under monitoring

These additional variants of SARS-CoV-2 have been detected as signals through epidemic intelligence, rules-based genomic variant screening, or preliminary scientific evidence. There is some indication that they could have properties similar to those of a VOC, but the evidence is weak or has not yet been assessed by ECDC. Variants listed here must be present in at least one outbreak, detected in a community within the EU/EEA, or there must be evidence that there is community transmission of the variant elsewhere in the world.

WHO label

Lineage + additional mutations

Country first detected (community)

Spike mutations of interest

Year and month first detected

Evidence for impact on transmissibility

Evidence for impact on immunity

Evidence for impact on severity

Transmission in EU/EEA

n/a

C.36+L452R

Egypt

L452R, D614G, Q677H

December 2020

 

Yes (m) (20)

 

Detected (a)

n/a

B.1.1.318

Unclear (b)

E484K, D614G, P681H

January 2021

 

Yes (m) (15)

 

Detected (a)

n/a

P.1+P681H

Italy

D614G, E484K, H655Y, K417T, N501Y, P681H

February 2021

 

Unclear (21, 22)

 

Detected (a)

n/a

B.1.617.2 + K417N

United Kingdom

L452R, T478K, D614G, P681R, K417N

June 2021

 

 

 

Detected (a)

n/a

C.1.2

South Africa

D614G, E484K, H655Y, N501Y, N679K, Y449H

June 2021

Yes (m) (14)

Yes (m) (15)

 

Detected (a)

n/a

B.1.617.2 + E484X (d)

India

L452R, T478K, D614G, P681R, E484X (d)

April 2021

 

 

 

Detected (a)

n/a

B.1.617.2 + Q613H

India

L452R, T478K, D614G, P681R, Q613H

April 2021

 

 

 

Detected (a)

n/a

B.1.617.2 + Q677H

India

L452R, T478K, D614G, P681R, Q677H

April 2021

 

 

 

Detected (a)

n/a

B.1.640

The Republic of Congo

D614G, F490R, N394S, N501Y, P681H, R346S, Y449N, 137−145del

September 2021

 

 

 

Detected (a)

n/a: not applicable, no WHO label has been assigned to this variant at this time

All sub-lineages of the listed lineages are also included in the variant, e.g., AZ.1 is included in B.1.1.318 as it is a sub-lineage of it.

De-escalated variants

These additional variants of SARS-CoV-2 have been de-escalated based on at least one the following criteria: (1) the variant is no longer circulating, (2) the variant has been circulating for a long time without any impact on the overall epidemiological situation, (3) scientific evidence demonstrates that the variant is not associated with any concerning properties.

WHO label

Lineage + additional mutations

Country first detected (community)

Spike mutations of interest

Year and month first detected

Evidence for impact on transmissibility

Evidence for impact on immunity

Evidence for impact on severity

Rationale for de-escalation

 

Alpha

B.1.1.7

United Kingdom

N501Y, D614G, P681H

September 2020

Yes (v) (14)

No

Yes (v) (5, 23)

Drastically reduced circulation in the EU/EEA following the emergence of Delta; little evidence of impact on vaccine induced immunity

 

n/a

B.1.1.7+E484K

United Kingdom

E484K, N501Y, D614G, P681H

December 2020

Yes (v) (14)

Yes (v) (15, 24)

Yes (v) (23)

Very low levels of circulation in the EU/EEA

Epsilon

B.1.427/B.1.429

USA

L452R, D614G

September 2020

Unclear (20)

Yes (v) (20)

 

No longer detected or detected at extremely low levels in the EU/EEA and available data indicating that vaccines and treatments are effective against such variant

n/a

B.1.616(c)

France

V483A, D614G, H655Y, G669S

February 2021

Detection (c) (25)

 

 

Not detected since 2021-04-23 (26)

Eta

B.1.525

Nigeria

E484K, D614G, Q677H

December 2020

 

Yes (m) (15, 27)

 

  No longer detected or detected at extremely low levels in the EU/EEA

Theta

P.3

The Philippines

E484K, N501Y, D614G, P681H

January 2021

Yes (m) (14)

Yes (m) (15)

 

No longer detected or detected at extremely low levels in the EU/EEA

Kappa

B.1.617.1

India

L452R, E484Q, D614G, P681R

December 2020

Yes (v) (28)

Yes (v) (29-32)

 

No longer detected or detected at extremely low levels in the EU/EEA

n/a

B.1.620

Unclear (b)

S477N, E484K, D614G, P681H

February 2021

 

Yes (m) (15, 33)

 

No longer detected or detected at extremely low levels in the EU/EEA

n/a

B.1.617.3

India

L452R, E484Q, D614G, P681R

February 2021

Yes (m) [1]

Yes (m) (15, 20)

 

No longer detected or detected at extremely low levels in the EU/EEA

n/a

B.1.214.2

Unclear2

Q414K, N450K, ins214TDR, D614G

December 2020

 

 

 

No longer detected or detected at extremely low levels in the EU/EEA

n/a

A.23.1+E484K

United Kingdom

V367F, E484K, Q613H

December 2020

 

Yes (m) (15)

 

No longer detected or detected at extremely low levels in the EU/EEA

n/a

A.27

Unclear (b)

L452R, N501Y, A653V, H655Y

December 2020

Yes (m) (14)

Yes (m) (20)

 

No longer detected or detected at extremely low levels in the EU/EEA

n/a

A.28

Unclear (b)

E484K, N501T, H655Y

December 2020

 

Yes (m) (15)

 

No longer detected or detected at extremely low levels in the EU/EEA

n/a

C.16

Unclear (b)

L452R, D614G

October 2020

 

Yes (m) (15)

 

No longer detected or detected at extremely low levels in the EU/EEA

n/a

B.1.351+P384L

South Africa

P384L, K417N, E484K, N501Y, D614G, A701V

December 2020

Yes (v) (1)

Yes (v) (2, 3)

Unclear (4)

No longer detected or detected at extremely low levels in the EU/EEA

n/a

B.1.351+E516Q

Unclear (b)

K417N, E484K, N501Y, E516Q, D614G, A701V

January 2021

Yes (v) (1)

Yes (v) (2, 3)

Unclear (4)

No longer detected or detected at extremely low levels in the EU/EEA

n/a

B.1.1.7+L452R

United Kingdom

L452R, N501Y, D614G, P681H

January 2021

Yes (v) (14)

Yes (m) (20)

Yes (v) (23)

No longer detected or detected at extremely low levels in the EU/EEA

n/a

B.1.1.7+S494P

United Kingdom

S494P, N501Y, D614G, P681H

January 2021

Yes (v) (14)

Yes (m) (34)

Yes (v) (23)

No longer detected or detected at extremely low levels in the EU/EEA

Iota

B.1.526

USA

 E484K, D614G, A701V

December 2020

 

Yes (m) (15)

 

No longer detected or detected at extremely low levels in the EU/EEA

n/a

B.1.526.1

USA

L452R, D614G

October 2020

 

Yes (m) (20)

 

Lineage withdrawn from Pango

n/a

B.1.526.2

USA

S477N, D614G

December 2020

 

 

 

Lineage withdrawn from Pango

Zeta

P.2

Brazil

E484K, D614G

January 2021

 

Yes (m) (15)

 

No longer detected or detected at extremely low levels in the EU/EEA

n/a

B.1.1.519

Mexico

T478K, D614G

November 2020

 

Yes (m) (20)

 

No longer detected or detected at extremely low levels in the EU/EEA

n/a

AV.1

United Kingdom

N439K, E484K, D614G, P681H

March 2021

 

Yes (m) (15)

 

No longer detected or detected at extremely low levels in the EU/EEA

n/a

AT.1

Russia

E484K, D614G, N679K, ins679GIAL

January 2021

 

Yes (m) (15)

 

No longer detected or detected at extremely low levels in the EU/EEA

n/a: not applicable, no WHO label has been assigned to this variant at this time

All sub-lineages of the listed lineages are also included in the variant, e.g., B.1.429.1 is included in B.1.427/B.1.429 as it is a sub-lineage of B.1.429.

(a) No assessment of transmission is given for variants in the monitoring category, only detected/not detected.

(b) The earliest detections from several different countries are close in time and there is no clearly demonstrated travel link to a specific country that explains the detections.

(c) The property of concern for this variant was the fact that there are reports of difficulties associated with detecting it in upper respiratory tract samples. These difficulties were not caused by primer-template mismatch but rather by the virus not being present in sufficient quantities in the upper respiratory tract.

(d) Any amino acid substitution

See changes from previous weeks

Geographic scope of the tables

The tables are based on genomic, phenotypic, and epidemiological evidence available on a global scale, but focus on the potential impact for the European region. For this reason, the list may deviate slightly from the global variants of concern and interest list and labels produced by WHO and published in the WHO weekly epidemiological update.

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