Difference Between Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta Variants in Coronavirus

The first novel strain of the initially found Covid-19, the Alpha variant is designated B.1.1.7. The B.1.351 lineage of viruses has a novel Beta variant. When it comes to Covid19, the Gamma strain is the P.1 variety, while the Delta strain is the B.1.617.2 variety.

Alpha Variant

The Alpha variety, also known as lineage B.1.1.7, is a subset of the Covid-19 species.

Discovered − As the first known mutation of the original Covid-19 virus, the Alpha form was given its name since it was found in patient samples collected in London.

Beta Variant

The B.1.351 lineage of Covid-19 includes the Beta version. This new strain of the Covid-19 virus was the second such discovery.

Discovered − Medical professionals and scientists in South Africa were the first to detect this Covid-19 version in the year December 2020. In late January of 2021, the Beta form was identified in Covid patients in the United Kingdom, indicating rapid global dissemination.

Gamma Variant

COVID-19 Gamma variant is also known as the P.1 variant.

Discovered − Brazilians seem to be the ones who introduced the Gamma variation or at least made it more common among foreigners. First spotted in January 2021, the virus prompted Japan to begin testing visitors at the airport. Researchers deduced that Brazil must be a reservoir for the variation. Finally, in the same month, this variation was also found in the United States.

Delta Variant

In the B.1.617.2 strain, the L452R mutation in the spike protein creates the Delta variation, often known as the strain.

Discovered − This variation was initially identified in a group of ill people in the Indian state of Maharashtra. After then, the variation traveled to South Africa, where it has been devastating to the Gauteng region. It has also been seen in other nations, such as the United States, where its impact is felt most strongly in states where a disproportionate number of residents lack vaccinations.

Differences: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta Variants in Coronavirus

The following table compares and contrasts the features and attributes of these four variants of coronavirus −







The Alpha variant is the B.1.1.7 form of the virus.

The Beta variant is the B.1.351 strain of the virus.

The Gamma variant is the P.1 strain of the virus.

The Delta variant is the B.1.617.2 form of the virus.

When it was first detected

The first time the Alpha variant was detected was in December 2020.

The Beta variant was first noted in October 2020.

The Gamma variant was detected in January 2021.

The Delta variant is the strain that was first noticed in December 2020.

Where it was first detected

The Alpha variant was first identified in the United Kingdom

The Beta variant first showed up in South Africa.

The Gamma variant was first detected in Brazil.

The Delta variant was first detected in India.


The transmissibility of the Alpha variant is anywhere from 40% to 80% greater than the original Covid virus.

The transmissibility of the Beta variant is estimated at 50% higher.

The increased transmissibility of the Gamma variant ranges from 1.7 to 2.4 times greater.

The Delta variant is very much more transmissible (97% higher) than the original Covid-19 virus.

Spike proteins/gene mutations

The N501Y genetic mutation is a feature of the Alpha variant.

This mutation as well as the E484K mutation are characteristics of the Beta variant of Covid-19.

The N501Y and E484K mutations as well as changes in 10 amino acids of the spike protein are features of the Gamma variant.

The L452R spike protein mutation is a trait of the Delta variant.


In this article, we discussed the Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta variants of coronavirus in detail and highlighted how one variant is different from the other, based on their various attributes.

Updated on: 01-Mar-2023


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