How Omicron, the new COVID-19 variant, got its name

How Omicron, the new COVID-19 variant, got its name

How Omicron, the new COVID-19 variant, got its name,

Omicron, the new COVID-19 variant

Markets plunged Friday, hope of taming the coronavirus dimmed and a new term entered the pandemic lexicon: omicron.

The COVID-19 variant that emerged in South Africa was named after the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet.


The naming system, introduced by the World Health Organization in May, makes public conversation about versions easier and much less complicated, the company and professionals stated.

For example, the variant that emerged Omicron in India isn’t always popularly called B.1.617.2. Rather, it’s far known as delta, the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet

There at the moment are seven “variants of hobby” or “editions of challenge,” and they every have a Greek letter, in step with a WHO monitoring page.

Some other variations with Greek letters do no longer reach those classification levels, and the WHO also skipped letters just before omicron — “nu” and “xi.”

“‘Nu’ is simply too without difficulty confounded with ‘new,’” Tarik Jasarevic, a spokesperson, said Saturday. “And ‘xi’ become not used because it’s miles a common closing call.”
He introduced that the agency’s great practices for naming sicknesses advocate heading off “inflicting offense to any cultural, social, country wide, nearby, expert or ethnic businesses.”

The WHO has promoted the naming device as easy and handy, in contrast to the editions’ medical names, which “may be difficult to mention and consider, and are liable to misreporting,” it said.

Some researchers agree.

Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the University of Saskatchewan, stated she conducted many interviews with newshounds this yr, before the Greek naming device become introduced, and she stumbled thru difficult motives about the B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 editions. They are now called alpha, which emerged inside the United Kingdom, and beta, which emerged in South Africa.

“It makes it certainly bulky to talk about when you’re continuously the usage of an alphabet soup of version designations,” she stated, adding, “Ultimately humans grow to be calling it the U.K. Version or the South African variant.”

That’s the opposite large reason that the WHO moved to the Greek naming machine, Rasmussen said: The older naming convention became unfair to the human beings where the virus emerged.

The WHO recommended country wide authorities and media stores to adopt the brand new labels. They do now not update the technical names, which bring essential information to scientists and will stay utilized in research.

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