WHO renames COVID-19 variants with Greek letters to avoid stigma | Coronavirus pandemic news


The UN health agency stated that one purpose of this move is to avoid stigmatizing the country where the mutation of the coronavirus was first discovered.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that coronavirus variants will be represented in Greek letters to avoid false positives and stigmatize the country where they were first discovered.

The new system applies to variants of attention — the four most disturbing of which are in circulation — as well as variants of secondary attention that are being tracked.

The WHO said in a statement: “Although they have their advantages, these scientific names may be difficult to tell and recall, and are prone to misreporting.”

“Therefore, people often refer to variants by where they are detected, which is stigmatizing and discriminatory.”

The four variants of coronaviruses considered by the United Nations agency to be worthy of attention and commonly known by the public as the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, and India have now been assigned the letters Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta according to their order of detection.

Other interesting variants continue down the alphabet.

Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical director, said on Twitter: “These tags will not replace existing scientific names. These names convey important scientific information and will continue to be used for research.”

“These labels will help public discussions about VOC/VOI because the numbering system may be difficult to follow.”

The WHO said in a statement that it encourages the media and national authorities to adopt the new label.

Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden Sign the hate crime law Designed to protect Asian Americans who have experienced a surge in attacks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The US anti-extremist organization stated that since the beginning of the crisis, the number of attacks and hate crimes targeting Asian Americans has surged.

They attribute part of the blame to former President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly referred to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus.”

Months of deliberation

Mark Pallen, a bacteriologist who participated in the meeting, said that after months of deliberation, experts considered other possibilities, such as the Greek gods and invented pseudo-classical names, and finally chose the Greek alphabet.

But many are already brands, companies or alien names.

After he pointed out that it was similar to English profanity, another idea of ​​referring to the variants of concern as VOC1, VOC2, etc. was discarded.

Historically, viruses are usually related to the place where they are believed to appear, such as the Ebola virus named after the Congo River of the same name.

But this can cause damage to these places and is often inaccurate, such as the so-called “Spanish flu” pandemic of unknown origin in 1918.

Before the new WHO plan, some scientists adopted their own simplified nomenclature, such as the February paper using bird names. However, it was criticized on the grounds that it might endanger the birds and was criticized by the mother of a girl named Robin.


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