As new coronavirus variants continue to be discovered, the World Health Organisation has revealed new names, after the letters of the Greek Alphabet, to simplify the discussion around the variants and avoid stigma.
Reuter’s reports that the four coronavirus variants considered of concern 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.
Any new variants will follow the pattern and continue down the Alphabet.
The choice of the use of the Greek Alphabet came after months of deliberations with other possibilities such as Greek Gods considered by experts, according to bacteriologist Mark Pallen who was involved in the talks.
Explaining the decision, the WHO said, “While they have their advantages, these scientific names can be difficult to say and recall, and are prone to misreporting.”
“No country should be stigmatized for detecting and reporting variants,” said WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove.
Fair enough but months of deliberation to arrive at an alphabet where so many words sound similar? Beta, eta, zeta, theta? Mu and nu? Xi, pi, phi and chi?
Maybe the experts hope we will have cracked this by epsilon.
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