The World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed new names for COVID variants in a bid to simplify matters.
The organisation said letters from the Greek alphabet would be assigned to help simplify discussion and pronunciation as well as avoid stigma.
For instance, the South African strain of COVID-19 goes by multiple names, such as B.1.251, 501Y.V2 and 20H.501Y.V2 which were found to be too complicated, whereas some scientists have adopted their own names.
In an effort to simplify matters, the WHO has decided to give different variants names from the Greek alphabet in the order of their detection. This decision came after months of deliberations. And there were numerous other possibilities also discussed, such as pseudo-classical names as well as names of Greek gods, bacteriologist Mark Pallen told the ABC.
The WHO released a statement explaining the situation: “While they have their advantages, these scientific names can be difficult to say and recall, and are prone to misreporting.”
The idea to use VOC (Variants of COVID) as an option was scrapped after it was decided that it closely resembled an English swear words.
Giving different strains names of places from where these are thought to have emerged was also considered quite damaging, and in some cases inaccurate. The WHO has named four variants of concern as the UK (B.1.1.7), South Africa (B.1.351), Brazil (P.1 and India (B.1.617.2) variants, however these will now be given letters Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta according to their order of detection.
“No country should be stigmatised for detecting and reporting variants,” WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove said.
Anti-Asian hate crime is believed to have risen as a result of the pandemics associations with the site where it was first detected in Wuhan, China.