WHO Assigns New Names to COVID-19 Variants

Encourages countries to adopt new 'easy-to-pronounce and non-stigmatising' naming system

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The Epoch Times

GENEVA—Variants of the novel coronavirus are now being assigned the letters of the Greek Alphabet in a bid to simplify discussion and pronunciation while avoiding stigma.

The World Health Organization revealed the new names on Monday amid criticism that those given by scientists such as the so-called South African variant which goes by multiple names including B.1.351, 501Y.V2 and 20H/501Y.V2 were too complicated.

As such, the four coronavirus variants considered of concern by the U.N. agency and known generally by the public as the UK, South Africa, Brazil and India variants have now been given the letters Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta according to the order of their detection.

Other variants of interest continue down the alphabet.

Read Tracking SARS-CoV-2 variants

“The labels do not replace existing scientific names, which convey important scientific information & will continue to be used in research,” the WHO said on Twitter in announcing its decision. “The naming system aims to prevent calling #COVID19 variants by the places where they are detected, which is stigmatizing & discriminatory.”

“WHO encourages countries and others to adopt these names as they will ease public discussions about global #COVID19 Variants of Concern and Interest,” it adds.

Epoch Times staff contributed to this report.


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