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Naming Of Coronavirus Variants : WHO

Naming Of Coronavirus Variants: WHO:

The World Health Organization (WHO) would unveil a system of the naming of coronavirus variants drawn from the way tropical storms are named, WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan says.

  • The initiative, similar to how hurricanes are labeled, seeks to remove the stigma.
  • It will also be easier for the lay public to remember rather than these complicated lineage numbers.
  • The WHO and health and science agencies across the world refer to viruses and their variants by formal lineage names, which are a combination of letters and names that point to the relationships between different variants.
  • Variants such as B.1.1.7 and B.1.617 suggest that they have certain mutations in common and as well clues to their evolutionary history.
  • However, because virus names and their associated diseases have frequently been named after geographical places where outbreaks were first reported or samples first isolated — such as the West Nile virus or Ebola.
  • 1.1.7 started to be known as the ‘U.K. variant’ and B.1.351 as the ‘South African’ variant.
  • The dilemma of having names that don’t stigmatize places but also are amenable to popular use has to an extent been solved by the system of naming hurricanes, or tropical cyclones.
  • The World Meteorological Organisation leaves it to countries that surround a particular ocean basin to come up with names.