The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed new, simpler names to designate variants of SARS-CoV-2. The letters of the Greek alphabet will henceforth be used instead of the place where the said variant was first discovered, which may have proved to be stigmatizing or discriminating in the past.
Alpha to … Omega?
We will therefore no longer speak of “British variant“but of the variant”Alpha“. The South African variant will be called”Beta“, the Brazilian”Gamma“and the Indian variant”DeltaIf the 24 letters of the Greek alphabet were to be exhausted, other similar sequences will then be used.
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WHO points out that the new designations do not replace scientific names – for example, the British variant or “Alpha“is officially called B.1.1.7. The organization has been working for months with many experts on simpler names for the variants of the coronavirus.
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WHO will include the variants with their new name on its website.
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