WHO Gives Stigmatizing Corona Variants New Names

From now on, the variants of the coronavirus are named with Greek letters. The World Health Organization (WHO) wants to avoid the stigma attached to the countries where the variants were first identified.


The WHO has renamed four variants of the coronavirus: the British variant (B.1.1.7), the South African (B.1.351), the Brazilian (P.1) and the Indian (B.1.617.2) ). They will be called Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta, respectively, in order of discovery. New variants will also be named after the next letter in the Greek alphabet.

The WHO emphasizes that the existing scientific names with numbers, letters and dots will also continue to be used, because they contain important information for the research. “So these scientific names have their advantages, but they are difficult to pronounce and remember, which can lead to mistakes,” explains the organization.

As a result, viruses are often named after the places where they were discovered, but according to the WHO, this has a stigmatizing and discriminatory effect. “To avoid that and to facilitate public communication, we recommend that national governments, media and others adopt these new names.”

By the way, the health organization did not go overnight in the search for the new names, the involved bacteriologist Mark Pallen confirms to The Guardian. According to Pallen, discussions were held for months, and various alternatives such as the names of Greek gods were discussed.

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