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This is how the naming system for coronavirus variants works


The WHO assigns "labels" to key variants of the coronavirus so that the public can refer to them with letters of the Greek alphabet.

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(CNN) -

In May, the World Health Organization (WHO) assigned key variants of the coronavirus "labels" so that the public can refer to them with letters of the Greek alphabet instead of where the virus was first detected. variant, for example, the new variant discovered in South Africa (B.1.1.529) was named omicron.

A WHO expert panel in May recommended using letters of the Greek alphabet to refer to the variants, "which will be easier and more practical for non-scientific audiences to discuss," according to a web page on the WHO website.

  • What we know so far about omicron, the new variant of coronavirus discovered in South Africa

"No country should be stigmatized for detecting and reporting variants," Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical leader for the response to COVID-19, said on Twitter.

These are the variants that are currently designated as of concern, according to the WHO:

  • Alternative B.1.351.

    - First detected in May 2020 in South Africa, it was labeled beta.

    It has been shown to be 50% more transmissible and evades Lilly's dual monoclonal antibody treatment, but not others.

  • Alternative B.1.1.7.

    - First detected in September 2020 in the UK, it was labeled alpha.

    This variant is highly transmissible and has already been detected in more than 80 countries.

  • Variant B.1.617.2: First

    detected in India in October 2020, it was labeled delta.

    A document from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that the delta variant is as communicable as chickenpox: each infected person infects as many as eight or nine, on average.

  • Variant P.1

    : first detected in November 2020 in Brazil, it was labeled gamma.

    It has been shown to bypass the effects of Lilly's monoclonal antibody treatment, but not one manufactured by Regeneron.

  • Variant B.1.1.529

    : first detected in November 2021 in "multiple countries" it was labeled as omicron.

As of November 26, 2021, the WHO has identified 4 worrisome variants of the virus.

In addition, there are two variants of current interest and 6 variants under surveillance.

  • Ómicron, mu, delta, lambda and others: one by one, all the variants of the coronavirus identified so far

According to the WHO, the labels do not replace the existing scientific names for the variants.

Scientific names "will continue to be used in research," Van Kerkhove tweeted.


"While they have their advantages, these scientific names can be difficult to pronounce and remember, and are prone to misinformation. As a result, people often resort to calling variants because of where they are detected, which is stigmatizing and discriminatory. ", according to the WHO announcement.

It may also be incorrect, as there is evidence that the mutations marking at least some of the variants have arisen independently in several different locations.

"To avoid this and simplify public communications, WHO encourages national authorities, the media and others to adopt these new labels," WHO said.

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coronavirus Covid-19 Coronavirus variants

Source: cnnespanol

All news articles on 2021-11-26

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