The World Health Organization (WHO) have renamed the different Covid variants to prevent a stigma being attached which has “clearly created hate crime.”
Health experts created the names as the original Covid was branded as the “Chinese virus” which has caused much hat crime to Chinese nationals over the past 18 months.
The former US President, Donald Trump labeled Covid as the “Kung Flu” virus and once shouted to a US reporter saying it originated from “CHINA” which caused upset.
The WHO will assign a letter from the Greek alphabet for future variants of concern,
The WHO said in a statement that the lack of an agreed international labelling system meant “people often resort to calling variants by the places where they are detected, which is stigmatising and discriminatory.”
The new variants of concern and interest have been renamed:
Variants of concern
- Alpha: Kent – B.1.1.7
- Beta: South Africa – B.1.351
- Gamma: Brazil – P.1
- Delta: India – B.1.617.2
Variants of interest
- Epsilon: US – B.1.427 & B.1.429
- Zeta: Brazil – P.2
- Eta: Various places – B.1.525
- Theta: Philippines – P.3
- Iota: US – B.1.526
- Kappa: India – B.1.617.1
Professor Mark Pallen, of microbial genomics at the University of East Anglia, told Radio 4’s Today programme, “We initially started with some ideas, perhaps using characters from antiquity and naming them, say, the Apollo variant or Artemis variant.
“But we soon realised that had connotations… so it’s taken us a long time to just work through the options out there.’
Professor Pallen was asked if there were real world consequences by using the geographic names.
Professor Pallen then compared the use of “Indian variant” to “Chinese virus,” and he added “that has clearly created hate crime.”
He said geographic labels ‘place an undue emphasis on controlling your borders rather than taking other actions to control the virus’.