SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern as of 25 May 2022

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.

More information on variants is available on

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
      Each category is annotated as increased, reduced, similar, unclear, or no evidence depending on the currently available evidence. Increased or reduced means that there is evidence demonstrating that the property is different enough for the variant compared to previously circulating variants that it is likely to have an impact on the epidemiological situation in the EU/EEA. Similar means that there is evidence that demonstrates that the property is not different enough for this variant compared to previously circulating variants that it is unlikely to have an impact. Unclear means that the current evidence is preliminary or contradictory enough to make the assessment uncertain. No evidence means that no evidence has yet been evaluated for this category. The evidence is further annotated with v or m to indicate whether the evidence is available for the variant itself (v) or for mutations associated with the variant (m).
  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

Impact on transmissibility

Impact on immunity

Impact on severity

Transmission in EU/EEA

 

Delta

B.1.617.2

India

L452R, T478K, D614G, P681R

December 2020

Increased (v) (1)

Increased (v) (2-4)

Increased (v) (3, 5)

Community

Omicron BA.1 South Africa and Botswana (x) November 2021 Increased (v) (6, 7) Increased (v) (8-10) Reduced (v) (11-13) Community
Omicron BA.2 South Africa (y) November 2021 Increased (v) (6, 14) Increased (v) (8) Reduced (v) (15, 16) Dominant
Omicron BA.4 South Africa L452R, F486V, R493Q January 2022 No evidence Increased (17, 18) No evidence Sporadic/travel
Omicron BA.5 South Africa L452R, F486V, R493Q February 2022 No evidence Increased (17, 18) No evidence Sporadic/travel

 

x: A67V, Δ69-70, T95I, G142D, Δ143-145, N211I, Δ212, ins215EPE, 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

y: G142D, N211I, Δ212, V213G, G339D, S371F, S373P, S375F, T376A, D405N, R408S, K417N, N440K, S477N, T478K, E484A, Q493R, Q498R, N501Y, Y505H, D614G, H655Y, N679K, P681H, N764K, D796Y, Q954H, N969K

All sub-lineages of the listed lineages are also included in the variant, e.g., BA.1.1 is included in Omicron BA.1 as it is a sub-lineage of BA.1.

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.

No variants are currently classified as variants of interest.

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

Impact on transmissibility

Impact on immunity

Impact on severity

Transmission in EU/EEA

Omicron BA.3 South Africa (z) November 2021 No evidence No evidence No evidence Detected (a)
Omicron BA.2 + L452X n/a L452X n/a No evidence Increased (18) No evidence Detected (a)

 

z: A67V, Δ69-70, Δ143-145, N211I, Δ212, G339D, S371F, S373P, S375F, D405N, K417N, N440K, G446S, S477N, T478K, E484A, Q493R, Q498R, N501Y, Y505H, D614G, H655Y, N679K, P681H, D796Y, Q954H, N969K

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

 

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

Impact on transmissibility

Impact on immunity

Impact on severity

Rationale for de-escalation

Alpha

B.1.1.7

United Kingdom

N501Y, D614G, P681H

September 2020

Increased (v) (19)

Similar

Increased (v) (20, 21)

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

Increased (v) (19)

Increased (v) (22, 23)

Increased (v) (20)

Very low levels of circulation in the EU/EEA

Epsilon

B.1.427/B.1.429

USA

L452R, D614G

September 2020

Unclear (24)

Increased (v) (24)

No evidence

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)

No evidence

No evidence

Not detected since 2021-04-23 (26)

Eta

B.1.525

Nigeria

E484K, D614G, Q677H

December 2020

No evidence

Increased (m) (22, 27)

No evidence

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

Theta

P.3

The Philippines

E484K, N501Y, D614G, P681H

January 2021

Increased (m) (19)

Increased (m) (22)

No evidence

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

Increased (v) (28)

Increased (v) (29-32)

No evidence

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

No evidence

Increased (m) (22, 33)

No evidence

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

Increased (m) (1)

Increased (m) (22, 24)

No evidence

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 evidence

No evidence

No evidence

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

No evidence

Increased (m) (22)

No evidence

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

Increased (m) (19)

Increased (m) (24)

No evidence

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

n/a

A.28

Unclear (b)

E484K, N501T, H655Y

December 2020

No evidence

Increased (m) (22)

No evidence

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

n/a

C.16

Unclear (b)

L452R, D614G

October 2020

No evidence

Increased (m) (22)

No evidence

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

Increased (v) (34)

Increased (v) (35, 36)

Unclear (37)

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

Increased (v) (34)

Increased (v) (35, 36)

Unclear (37)

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

Increased (v) (19)

Increased (m) (24)

Increased (v) (20)

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

Increased (v) (19)

Increased (m) (38)

Increased (v) (20)

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

Iota

B.1.526

USA

 E484K, D614G, A701V

December 2020

No evidence

Increased (m) (22)

No evidence

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

n/a

B.1.526.1

USA

L452R, D614G

October 2020

No evidence

Increased (m) (24)

No evidence

Lineage withdrawn from Pango

n/a

B.1.526.2

USA

S477N, D614G

December 2020

No evidence

No evidence

No evidence

Lineage withdrawn from Pango

Zeta

P.2

Brazil

E484K, D614G

January 2021

No evidence

Increased (m) (22)

No evidence

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

n/a

B.1.1.519

Mexico

T478K, D614G

November 2020

No evidence

Increased (m) (24)

No evidence

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

No evidence

Increased (m) (22)

No evidence

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

n/a AT.1 Russian Federation E484K, D614G, N679K, ins679GIAL January 2021 No evidence Increased (m) (22) No evidence No longer detected or detected at extremely low levels in the EU/EEA
n/a C.36+L452R Egypt L452R, D614G, Q677H December 2020 No evidence Increased (m) (24) No evidence No longer detected or detected at extremely low levels in the EU/EEA

n/a

P.1+P681H

Italy

D614G, E484K, H655Y, K417T, N501Y, P681H

February 2021

No evidence

Unclear (39, 40)

No evidence

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

Mu B.1.621 Colombia R346K, E484K, N501Y, D614G, P681H January 2021 Increased (m) (19) Increased (m) (22) No evidence No longer detected or detected at extremely low levels in the EU/EEA
Lambda C.37 Peru L452Q, F490S, D614G December 2020 No evidence Increased (v) (41, 42) No evidence No longer detected or detected at extremely low levels in the EU/EEA
n/a AY.4.2 United Kingdom L452R, T478K, D614G, P681R, A222V, Y145H June 2021 Increased (v) (43) Similar (v) (43, 44) Similar (v) (43) Delta sub-lineages will continue to be monitored within Delta VOC
n/a B.1.1.318 Unclear (b) E484K, D614G, P681H January 2021 No evidence Increased (m) (22) No evidence No longer detected or detected at extremely low levels in the EU/EEA
n/a B.1.617.2 + K417N United Kingdom L452R, T478K, D614G, P681R, K417N June 2021 No evidence No evidence No evidence Delta sub-lineages will continue to be monitored within Delta VOC
n/a C.1.2 South Africa D614G, E484K, H655Y, N501Y, N679K, Y449H June 2021 Increased (m) (19) Increased (m) (22) No evidence No longer detected or detected at extremely low levels in the EU/EEA
n/a B.1.617.2 + E484X (d) India L452R, T478K, D614G, P681R, E484X (d) April 2021 No evidence No evidence No evidence Delta sub-lineages will continue to be monitored within Delta VOC
n/a B.1.617.2 + Q613H India L452R, T478K, D614G, P681R, Q613H April 2021 No evidence No evidence No evidence Delta sub-lineages will continue to be monitored within Delta VOC
n/a B.1.617.2 + Q677H India L452R, T478K, D614G, P681R, Q677H April 2021 No evidence No evidence No evidence Delta sub-lineages will continue to be monitored within Delta VOC
Beta B.1.351 South Africa K417N, E484K, N501Y, D614G, A701V September 2020 Increased (v) (34) Increased (v) (35, 36) Increased (v) (21, 37) No longer detected or detected at extremely low levels in the EU/EEA  
Gamma P.1 Brazil K417T, E484K, N501Y, D614G, H655Y December 2020 Increased (v) (45) Increased (v) (46) Increased (v) (21) No longer detected or detected at extremely low levels in the EU/EEA
n/a B.1.640 The Republic of Congo D614G, F490R, N394S, N501Y, P681H, R346S, Y449N, 137−145de September 2021 No evidence No evidence No evidence No longer detected or detected at extremely low levels in the EU/EEA
n/a XF United Kingdom Omicron-like January 2022 No evidence No evidence No evidence No longer detected.
n/a

XD

France NTD Delta-like; remaining Omicron-like January 2022 No evidence No evidence No evidence No longer detected.

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.

More on this topic

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  2. Jamie Lopez Bernal NA, Charlotte Gower, Eileen Gallagher, Dr Ruth Simmons, Simon Thelwall, Julia Stowe, Elise Tessier, Natalie Groves, Gavin Dabrera, Richard Myers, Vanessa Saliba, Shamez Ladhani, Coli, Campbell, Gayatri Amirthalingam, Matt Edmunds, Maria Zambon, Kevin Brown, Susan Hopkins, Meera Chand, Mary Ramsay. Effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against the B.1.617.2 variant 2021 [Available from: https://khub.net/documents/135939561/430986542/Effectiveness+of+COVID-19+vaccines+against+the+B.1.617.2+variant.pdf/204c11a4-e02e-11f2-db19-b3664107ac42.

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