The new names of the variants of the coronavirus- Corriere.it

The new names of the variants of the coronavirus- Corriere.it
The new names of the variants of the coronavirus- Corriere.it

The Indian variant of SARS-CoV-2, called until today from the name of the country where it was first sequenced and scientifically defined B.1.617.2, has changed its name and it is now called “Delta”, like the letter of the Greek alphabet. With her, all the variants of greatest concern change their name because the World Health Organization (WHO) has decided a new naming method.

The reason for the choice

The WHO has been assigning the letters of the Greek alphabet since Monday only to the so-called “concern” variants (in English VOC, Variant of Concern) in the chronological order in which they were designated as potential threats by the WHO. Then «Alpha» is the English variant B.1.1.7, Beta is the South African variant and Gamma is the Brazilian variant. Scientists will continue to assign long strings of letters and numbers to the new variants for lineage classifications, but the WHO hopes that the Greek letters can replace the geographical naming, which is disputed by many because somehow stigmatizing and why it wasn’t even correct. A variant like the English one, in fact, was called this way because it was sequenced for the first time in England, but it is not said that it was originally “born” really in England. It was only spotted there for the first time. Concern had arisen that the countries named had been somehow “punished” for investing in the sequencing of the genome necessary to raise the alarm about the new mutations.

The abbreviation system also remains

On the other hand, many people referred to the variants based on the places where they were discovered for difficulty remembering and pronouncing the previous system of letters and numbers, which however remains: not only for scientists, but also to designate the hundreds of variants that have arisen and have arisen since the beginning of the coronavirus, among which there are also those “under surveillance”, the so-called variants “Of interest” (YOU). The new system is less technical, more easily pronounced and “available”: the World Meteorological Organization said in March that it would no longer use Greek letters to name hurricanes.

Variants and Covid: the insights

June 1, 2021 (change June 1, 2021 | 17:10)

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