All viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, change over time. Most changes have little to no impact on the virus’ properties. However, some changes may affect the virus’s properties, such as how easily it spreads, the associated disease severity, or the performance of vaccines, therapeutic medicines, diagnostic tools, or other public health and social measures.
WHO has characterized specific Variants of Interest (VOIs) and Variants of Concern (VOCs) among COVID-19 variants, in order to prioritize global monitoring and research, and ultimately to inform the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Variants of Concern
A SARS-CoV-2 variant that meets the definition of a VOI (see below) and, through a comparative assessment, has been demonstrated to be associated with one or more of the following changes at a degree of global public health significance:
- Increase in transmissibility or detrimental change in COVID-19 epidemiology; or
- Increase in virulence or change in clinical disease presentation; or
- Decrease in effectiveness of public health and social measures or available diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics.
- Variants of Interest
A SARS-CoV-2 isolate is a Variant of Interest (VOI) if, compared to a reference isolate, its genome has mutations with established or suspected phenotypic implications, and either:
- has been identified to cause community transmission/multiple COVID-19 cases/clusters, or has been detected in multiple countries; OR
- is otherwise assessed to be a VOI by WHO in consultation with the WHO SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution Working Group.
Common Mutants found in COVID-19 and variant line
Our GG COVID-19 mutation kit strives to identify all current clinically significant mutants in a rapid, cost-effective way.