Why did the World Health Organization skip two letters of the Greek alphabet to name the new variant? This is the official explanation.


So far, the WHO has followed the Greek alphabet to name the variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that have emerged.

As a result, the agency was to name the latest variant first discovered in South Africa “nude”, which comes after “mo”, the previous variant identified on August 30.

However, the WHO skipped the next letter of the alphabet, like Nu as well as Xi, with many social media users wondering if the goal was to avoid offending Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Now the body is removing the controversy. In a statement sent to The Associated Press, the World Health Organization made it clear that it had deleted No’s name to ensure clarity and character to avoid offending anyone in general. .

“It’s easy to confuse ‘no’ with ‘new’ and ‘xi’ because it’s a common nickname,” WHO said, adding that “the agency’s best naming practices are aimed at avoiding offending anyone “, in” cultural, social or national groups. “regional, professional or ethnic.

This is the first time that the World Health Organization has skipped letters to name the variants of the coronavirus. Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta are currently “interesting variants” of the Omicron. Others, such as Lambda, Kappa and Mu, have been identified as “variants of interest”, ie less severe.

The Omicron variant appears to contain a large number of mutations in the Spike protein, which makes it easier to spread. The WHO said preliminary evidence “points to an increased risk of reinfection” compared to other variables of concern.

But scientists are still studying what exactly these genetic changes mean, to see if the variant is more heritable or dangerous. So far, there is no indication that the variant causes more serious disease.

The World Health Organization today warned that the global risk posed by the new alternative is “extremely high”. “Due to the higher mutations in Omicron, with the potential to be more resistant to vaccination and more contagious, the risk of transmission of the variant worldwide is” high “, according to an official document.

“There can be new waves of Covid-19 with serious consequences, depending on many factors, such as where these waves are occurring,” adds the body.

Faced with these risks, WHO urges member states to take certain priority actions, including “accelerating vaccination against COVID-19 as quickly as possible, especially among the vulnerable population who remain unvaccinated.”

It also urges all countries to increase surveillance measures, report potential cases or outbreaks associated with the variant, and laboratories to increase the sequencing work required to analyze the structure of the coronavirus.

Ómicron has already appeared in many countries, leaving governments around the world in a struggle to stop transmission, especially in Portugal, where 13 cases have already been identified. research Here All countries which have reported infections with this variant.

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