WHO provides coronavirus variants ‘easy-to-pronounce, non-stigmatizing’ Greek alphabet names


The World Well being Group (WHO) rolled out a brand new naming system for monitoring COVID-19 variants that the company says creates “easy-to-pronounce and non-stigmatizing” labels for the brand new mutations. Going ahead, the company will use letters of the Greek alphabet when discussing the variants moderately than pango lineage, scientific names or by referring to them by the nation they have been detected in, which the WHO says is “stigmatizing and discriminatory.” 

“Whereas they’ve their benefits, these scientific names may be troublesome to say and recall, and are susceptible to misreporting,” the company said. “Because of this, folks typically resort to calling variants by the locations the place they’re detected, which is stigmatizing and discriminatory. To keep away from this and to simplify public communications, WHO encourages nationwide authorities, media retailers and others to undertake these new labels.” 

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As such, the B.1.1.7 variant, which was initially detected within the U.Ok., will now be referred to by WHO as Alpha. The B.1.351 variant, initially detected in South Africa, will now be known as Beta by the company, and the P.1. variant, initially detected in Brazil, has been labeled Gamma. The B.1.617.2 variant, the most recent addition to the record that was initially detected in India, has been labeled Delta. 

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“These labels don’t substitute current scientific names (e.g. these assigned by GISAID, Nextstrain and Pango), which convey vital scientific info and can proceed for use in analysis,” WHO said. 

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