World Health Organization announces naming system for COVID-19 variants

World Health Organization announces naming system for COVID-19 variants

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.

The variant first spotted in the United Kingdom (B.1.1.7) in September 2020 will now be known as "Alpha".

The fourth variant that first turned up in India has been dubbed the "delta" variant.

Continuing with the downward trend, India during the last 24 hours, reported 1.73 lakh new COVID-19 cases, its lowest in the last 45 days, taking the overall caseload in the country to 2.77 crore.

The world health body had earlier said that viruses or variants should not be identified by the names of countries they were found in. That group is charged with naming new species of viruses - it named SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

While the scientific names for the variants will remain, the World Health Organization has called on governments and the media to adopt the new Greek alphabet names.

Another idea to refer to variants of concern as VOC1, VOC2 etc. was scrapped after he pointed out it resembled an English swear word. This is what leads to variants.

The lineage names such as B.1.1.7.2 will still continue to be used in scientific circles, for the mutation information that their name conveys.

It's hoped the new system will discourage stigmatising countries that detect the variants. "As a result, people often resort to calling variants by the places where they are detected, which is stigmatizing and discriminatory", the organisation said in a media statement.

When the 24 letters of the Greek alphabet have been exhausted, another series like it will be announced, Van Kerkhove said.

"There's definitely issues with stigmatization where the variants are being described and then labeling them based on that country".

However, in May, the variant was detected in Thai travellers who had visited Pakistan, the report said. "I think that's totally wrong and I think we should avoid that", said Catalina Lopez-Correa.

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