Data element name

Sub data element name


Code System Owner

NameWorld Health Organization
WebsiteWorld Health Organization
Email address
Phone number
AddressAvenue Appia 20
1202 Geneva
Code System Maintainer (Steward)Name
Email address
Phone number
Code System PublisherName
Email address
Phone number
Code System NamesFormal name of the code systemWorld Health Organisation SARS-CoV-2 Variants
Short name of the code systemWHO_SARS_CoV2_Variants
Code System Technical IdentifiersHTA-endorsed URI  
HTA-endorsed OID
Other URIs
Other OIDs
Case Sensitive Codes (TRUE/FALSE)TRUE (default value)
Code System InformationLink
Notes"The established nomenclature systems for naming and tracking SARS-CoV-2 genetic lineages by GISAID, Nextstrain and Pango are currently and will remain in use by scientists and in scientific research. To assist with public discussions of variants, WHO convened a group of scientists from the WHO Virus Evolution Working Group (now called the Technical Advisory Group on Virus Evolution), the WHO COVID-19 reference laboratory network, representatives from GISAID, Nextstrain, Pango and additional experts in virological, microbial nomenclature and communication from several countries and agencies to consider easy-to-pronounce and non-stigmatising labels for VOI and VOC. At the present time, this expert group convened by WHO has recommended using letters of the Greek Alphabet, i.e., Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta which will be easier and more practical to be discussed by non-scientific audiences. When using this naming scheme and referring to the genomic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 identified from the first cases (December 2019), the term ‘index virus’ should be used."
Arrangement or agreements with HL7 for use of content
Version management
"Updates on SARS-CoV-2 classifications, the geographic distribution of VOCs, and summaries of their phenotypic characteristics (transmissibility, disease severity, risk of reinfection, and impacts on diagnostics and vaccine performance) based on published studies, are regularly provided in the WHO Weekly Epidemiological Updates."
Code System Copyright, Intellectual Property and LicensingCopyright Statement© Copyright World Health Organization (WHO), 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Copyright Information"Any use of information in the web site should be accompanied by an acknowledgment of WHO as the source, citing the uniform resource locator (URL) of the article. Reproduction or translation of substantial portions of the web site, or any use other than for educational or other non-commercial purposes, require explicit, prior authorization in writing. Applications and enquiries should be addressed to the programme responsible for the page used."
Intellectual Property Information
Licensing Information
HTA endorsement status (Draft, In review, Endorsed for use, Pending re-endorsement, Retired) ValueIn Review
Assignment date20221116
HTA review statusLast review date20221116
Next review date20231116
Information current as at (date)
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