The new names given to mutant Covid strains

The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced a new naming system for the key Covid-19 variants on Tuesday in a bid to make them simpler to say and remember.Under the new naming system for key variants, the UK variant, the B.1.1.7 strain, has been renamed Alpha.The South African strain, B.1.351, is called Beta, the Brazilian strain, P.1, is known as Gamma, and the Indian strain, B.1.617.2, is called Delta.The WHO convened a group of scientists and other virus experts to come together and consider “easy-to-pronounce” and “non-stigmatising labels”.“This expert group convened by WHO has recommended using letters of the Greek alphabet, i.e. Alpha, Beta, Gamma, which will be easier and more practical to discuss by non-scientific audiences,” the WHO said.“The labels do not replace existing scientific names, which convey important scientific information and will continue to be used in research.“The naming system aims to prevent calling Covid-19 variants by the places where they are detected, which is stigmatising and discriminatory.“WHO encourages countries and others to adopt these names as they will ease public discussions about global Covid-19 variants of concern and interest.”

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