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WHO gives new names to COVID-19 variants

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has given the new names to different COVID-19 variants. The naming has been done using the Greek alphabet. The current technical name given to the COVID-19 variant is difficult to pronounce and thus easy names based on Greek letters are given. 

Accordingly, the names for the COVID-19 variants found in the UK, South Africa, Brazil and India are given as Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta respectively. The WHO has decided that new COVID-19 variants will be given names based on the order of greek alphabets.

Earlier, the variant identified in the UK was known as B117. The one found in South Africa was called B1351. The COVID-19 variants found in Brazil and India were called P1 and B1617 respectively. 

WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove said that the new naming conventions were introduced so the country does not get stagmized for detecting and reporting the virus variants. The great flu of 1918 is called as Spanish flu until now although the origins of which are unknown. It is believed naming that way stigmatizing certain locations can damage the reputation of those places.

Image Credit – CBC

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