WHO Gives Coronavirus Variants New Names

Coronavirus variants sweeping the globe with their threatening hands. The World Health Organization announced Tuesday a new nomenclature for the COVID-19 variants that were previously — and somewhat uncomfortably — known either by their technical letter-number codes or by the countries in which they first appeared.

Coronavirus variants are to be named after letters of the Greek alphabet instead of their place of first discovery, the WHO (World Health Organisation )has announced, in a move to avoid stigma.

So the first such variant of concern, which first appeared in Britain and was also known as B.1.1.7, will be known as the “alpha” variant. The second, which turned up in South Africa and has been referred to as B.1.351, will be known as the “beta” variant.

A third that first appeared in Brazil will be called the “gamma” variant and a fourth that first turned up in India the “delta” variant. Future variants that rise to “of concern” status will be labelled with subsequent letters in the Greek alphabet.

The WHO said “While they have their advantages, these scientific names can be difficult to say and recall and are prone to misreporting … As a result, people often resort to calling variants by the places where they are detected, which is stigmatising and discriminatory. the labels do not replace existing scientific names involving numbers, Roman letters and full stops, which convey important scientific information and will continue to be used in research.

the WHO said in a statement. The organization convened a group of scientists to consider easy-to-pronounce and non-stigmatizing labels for the virus strains, which it divides into categories as “of interest” and “of concern.”

Variants of Concern

NEW WHO LABEL
SCIENTIFIC NAMES
EARLIEST SAMPLE
Alpha B.1.1.7 U.K. (September 2020)
Beta B.1.351 South Africa (May 2020)
Gamma P.1 Brazil (November 2020)
Delta B.1.617.2 India (October 2020)

Variants of Interest

NEW WHO LABEL
SCIENTIFIC NAMES
EARLIEST SAMPLE
Epsilon B.1.427/B.1.429 U.S. (March 2020)
Zeta P.2 Brazil (April 2020)
Eta B.1.525 Many Countries (December 2020)
Theta P.3 Philippines (January 2021)
Iota B.1.526 U.S. (November 2020)
Kappa B.1.617.1 India (October 2020)

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