WHO using Greek Alphabet to simplify names for COVID variants


(WTNH) — The World Health Organization (WHO) said it is making it more simple to remember the variants of SARS-CoV-2, otherwise known as COVID-19.

WHO has turned to the Greek Alphabet to label the COVID variants. The organization believes using the Greek Alphabet will help non-scientific audiences better understand the different types of variants, rather than referring to the Pango lineage.

As of Monday, May 31, there are four current COVID variants of concern:

WHO said the variants of concern are associated with one or more of the following changes of significance:

  • Increase in transmissibility or detrimental change in COVID-19 epidemiology; or 
  • Increase in virulence or change in clinical disease presentation; or 
  • Decrease in effectiveness of public health and social measures or available diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics.  

There are six current COVID variants of interest; they have been identified to cause community transmission or have been detected in multiple countries. The variants are otherwise being assessed with the WHO SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution Working Group. 

For more information, visit the WHO website.

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