World Health Organization Gives COVID-19 Variants New Names To End Stigma
By Alexa Heah, 01 Jun 2021
Image via Shutterstock
The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced it will begin using a new naming system when referring to variants of COVID-19.
Instead of terming the variants based on the country they originated from or were detected by, such as the “UK Variant” or “Indian Variant,” the WHO will be using letters of the Greek alphabet instead. For example, the “UK Variant” will now be known as the “Alpha Variant.”
According to the BBC, the WHO said this would help to streamline discussions and prevent discrimination due to the names.
Last month, the Indian government had criticized the naming of the B.1.617.2 COVID-19 strain as the “Indian Variant,” though it was never an officially-recognized name.
The new names will not replace the existing scientific names, but are there to help facilitate public discourse. If more than 24 variants are identified and all of the Greek letters have been used, the WHO will decide on a new naming system.
“No country should be stigmatized for detecting and reporting variants,” said WHO COVID-19 Technical Lead, Maria Van Kerkhove.
Today, @WHO announces new, easy-to-say labels for #SARSCoV2 Variants of Concern (VOCs) & Interest (VOIs)— Maria Van Kerkhove (@mvankerkhove) May 31, 2021
They will not replace existing scientific names, but are aimed to help in public discussion of VOI/VOC
Read more here (will be live soon):
[via BBC, cover image via Shutterstock]
More related news