The emergence of new Coronavirus variants has caused huge worries in the fight against pandemics. More interestingly there was a huge uproar from nations that discovered these variants over their nomenclature. While scientists used their own naming convention, the variants were commonly attached to the nation of their origin in day-to-day language.
The Naming Convention: Coronavirus Variants
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The World Health Organization finally released its naming convention for the new emerging Sars-Cov-2 variants on 31 May 2021. The announcement came after nations started complaining against being attached to the variants’ names. The WHO has used a very basic rule for naming the variants. It has used the age-old Greek alphabets to name the Sars-Cov-2 variants.
As a result, the Sars-Cov-2 variant first discovered in UK will take the common name as Alpha. The one sampled first in India will be known as delta. The new nomenclature is an attempt by WHO to remove regional associations. The names come after experts have warned that regional association could lead to stigmatization.
Maria Van Kerkhove, Covid-19 technical lead WHO tweeted this information on Monday. She also declared that these names would not replace existing scientific names. But are aimed at helping public discussion of variant of concern and interest.
Till now, scientifically the variant linked to the UK was called B.1.1.7 and the one linked to India is known as B.1.617.2. But, in common use, however, they were often called as the UK variant or the Indian variant. This was the practice that experts and officials have now discouraged by assigning the Greek alphabets.
Spread Of The Variants
Until now, only four Sars-Cov-2 variants are variants of concern. These are named so, due to the presence of peculiar mutations seen in them. These mutations tend to make the coronavirus more infectious or more resistant to immunity triggered by a past infection or a vaccine.
Earlier the B.1.1.7 spread the most around the world, with samples found in 137 countries. But now, the B.1.617.2 is believed to be spreading the fastest. It has spread to over 50 countries in just two months.
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