The World Well being Group (WHO) choice to call the brand new coronavirus variant of concern ‘Omicron’ has raised some eyebrows, as below its Greek alphabet naming scheme the following ones up ought to have been ‘Nu’ after which ‘Xi’.
Omicron, designated as such on Friday, is meant to be the frequent identify for the variant of SARS-CoV-2 virus scientifically often called B.1.1.529. The WHO lists 5 different “variants of concern” and two extra “variants of curiosity,” with the final of them named ‘Mu.’
Sharp-eyed observers have famous that by utilizing ‘Omicron’ the WHO disregarded each ‘Nu’ and the following letter within the Greek alphabet, ‘Xi’.
Whereas the WHO has not issued an official rationalization, an official talking on situation of anonymity with a number of journalists stated the selection was certainly deliberate: Nu would have been confused with the phrase “new” and Xi to “keep away from stigmatizing a area,” in response to a senior editor on the UK newspaper Telegraph.
A WHO supply confirmed the letters Nu and Xi of the Greek alphabet had been intentionally prevented. Nu had been skipped to keep away from confusion with the phrase "new" and Xi had been skipped to "keep away from stigmatising a area", they stated.All pandemics inherently political!
— Paul Nuki (@PaulNuki) November 26, 2021
A journalist with the US outlet Washington Examiner provided much more element, quoting the official as saying that Xi was “a typical final identify & WHO finest practices for naming illness counsel avoiding inflicting offense to any cultural, social, nationwide, regional, skilled, & ethnic teams.”
It additionally occurs to be the transliteration of the household identify of China’s present president, Xi Jinping.
WHO on skipping Nu/Xi to dub variant Omicron: “Nu is just too simply confounded with ‘new’ & Xi wasn’t used b/c it’s a typical final identify & WHO finest practices for naming illness counsel avoiding inflicting offense to any cultural, social, nationwide, regional, skilled, & ethnic teams.”
— Jerry Christmas 🎄🎅🏽 (@JerryDunleavy) November 26, 2021
Whereas the primary circumstances of the novel coronavirus have been documented in Wuhan, in China’s Hubei province, the authorities in Beijing have rejected each the “lab leak” and “moist market” theories of its origin, suggesting as a substitute it might need been introduced over from the US.
The WHO named the virus SARS-CoV-2 and the illness attributable to it Covid-19. By Might 2021, the group adopted the Greek alphabet naming conference for the variants and strains of the virus, to keep away from what it referred to as a “stigmatizing and discriminatory” apply of naming them by the place the place they have been first detected.
READ MORE: The ABCs of Covid: What that you must learn about every ‘pressure of concern’