What is the definition of Omicron? How the Covid variant names are chosen

Asia's Tech News Daily

What is the definition of Omicron? How the Covid variant names are chosen

The WHO has named the latest variant of the Covid-19 virus “omicron”, saying it has become a variant of concern since it was first identified in South Africa on 9 November and that it poses a “very high” global risk with potentially severe consequences.

While the global health agency and other experts continue to study just how dangerous and transmissible the variant is, it has already drawn international attention because of the “unprecedented” number of mutations it exhibits compared to other Covid variants — as well as confusion over where it gets its name from.

Why is the variant called omicron?

Earlier on in the pandemic, new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus were given scientific names with a complex combination of letters and numbers.

It meant that for shorthand, variants typically ended up being referred to by the country where they were first identified — a system which experts said resulted in stigma against the people of those countries, as well as some confusion and misreporting.

The WHO in May 2021 announced a simple naming system for new variants of the virus. It said that each new variant would be named after successive letters in the Greek alphabet.

As such, one of the first variants with significant mutations which was first sequenced in Britain — B.1.1.7 — was named alpha, and a potentially menacing variant that emerged in South Africa in 2020 was named beta.

Keeping up with the method, the WHO on Friday named the new B.1.1.529 variant omicron, which is the 15th letter in the Greek alphabet. The letter omicron is equivalent to a short-sounded English letter “O”.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.Update your settings here to see it.

Apart from omicron, the WHO has listed five other “variants of concern”, which it uses to describe a variant that is more contagious, if vaccines work less well against it, or if it has a combination of both characteristics.

Alpha and beta remain variants of concern, alongside the variant that was first discovered in Brazil — gamma, the lambda variant that was found in Peru and the globally dominant variant that originated in India — delta.

There have been other variants that did not raise such immediate concerns but were named as “variants of interest”, to be assessed. These have included mu, zeta, eta, theta, iota, kappa and epsilon.

“No country should be stigmatised for detecting and reporting variants,” the WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead, Maria Van Kerkhove, tweeted when the Greek alphabet system was announced.

Ms Van Kerkhove said in an interview at the time that if more than 24 significant variants are identified and the WHO runs out of Greek letters, then a new naming programme will be announced.

Why were nu and xi skipped?

When naming the new variant, two letters that come in the Greek alphabet before omicron — nu and xi — were skipped. Many have noted that Xi is a family name most widely associated with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping.

“'Nu' is too easily confounded with ‘new', and ‘xi’ was not used because it is a common last name,” the WHO said in a statement to Reuters.

“WHO best practices for naming disease suggest avoiding ‘causing offence to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional or ethnic groups’,” the statement added.

This was the first time that the organisation skipped letters when naming coronavirus variants, and it has been leapt on by political opponents of China as a result.

In the US, Republican senator Ted Cruz wrote: “If the WHO is this scared of the Chinese Communist Party, how can they be trusted to call them out the next time they’re trying to cover up a catastrophic global pandemic.”

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.Update your settings here to see it.

The son of the former president, Donald Trump Jr, added: “As far as I'm concerned the original will always be the Xi variant.”

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.Update your settings here to see it.

And Priyanka Chaturvedi, a politician from India, also slammed the health agency.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.Update your settings here to see it.

She wrote: “WHO won’t call out China. WHO will skip Nu and Xi as a variant. But WHO’s apologists will come on our timeline to accuse Africa and India. Guys get a spine then will talk.”

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

I filmed a UFO while climbing a Scottish mountain – it's totally changed my life

A STUNNED Scots climber who claimed to have spotted a UFO in the skies above Scotland has said it's “changed his life”. Derek Craig, 41, said it was a “special ... Read more »

Hochul boosts funding for charters, gives Adams 4 years to run NYC schools

NYC Charter School Center CEO James Merriman applauded Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposed education budget. Mike Groll/Office of Governor Ka Flush with cash from the feds and previous tax hikes on ... Read more »

Rangers' breakout season about to face string of challenges

Through nearly half of this breakout season, the Rangers have acted the part of a top team. They have done what the best teams do: Handle the soft part of ... Read more »

Hong Kong independence activist Leung released from prison

The Associated PressFILE – Supporters hold a banner with a picture of Hong Kong activist Edward Leung as they shout slogans outside the High Court in Hong Kong, on Oct. ... Read more »

2 suspects arrested in Congo in Italian ambassador's death

GOMA, Congo — Authorities in eastern Congo have arrested two men in connection with the killing of the Italian ambassador and two others nearly a year ago, though police said ... Read more »

Haiti official denies more time in president's slaying probe

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — A request for more time to investigate the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was denied, a magistrate told The Associated Press on Tuesday. Bernard Saint-Vil, dean ... Read more »

Video: Heather Rae Young wakes up from egg retrieval procedure and reveals she was able to obtain seven eggs in newest fertility journey update

Read more »

Video: Married At First Sight star Jessika Power gets her second Covid-19 vaccine in Manchester a month after recovering from the virus

Read more »

Woolworths' worker shares the sneaky way he gets revenge on 'rude' customers by making sure they pay more for their shopping

Video shows Woolworths worker's controversial revenge on rude customersThe employee films himself pressing down on the produce scales to add weightRude customers or 'Karens' could end up paying more because of the actWoolworths said it was concerned by the TikTok and is currently investigating  Read more »

Body of Kim Kardashian lookalike Missy Hernandez is FOUND in aqueduct as boyfriend arrested for murder

THE body of the Kim Kardashian lookalike Missy Hernandez was recovered over the weekend from a California aqueduct as her boyfriend was arrested for murder. Hernandez, 30, was last seen ... Read more »

Plane crashes at Sylvania Airport after getting caught up in wind gust after taking off

A SMALL aircraft crashed at an airport in Wisconsin after being knocked off course shortly after take-off due to strong wind gusts in the area. Officials said the aircraft crash-landed ... Read more »

Bronx fire: ‘Gas explosion' causes NYC building to collapse leaving 1 dead & 7 hurt weeks after another blaze killed 17

A GAS explosion caused a Bronx building to collapse, leaving one dead and seven injured just weeks after another blaze killed 17. Footage from the scene showed one private home ... Read more »

Gail Porter: I lost everything when I became homeless, but it was just stuff

TELLY presenter Gail Porter lost everything when she became homeless and said letting go of stuff can leave you cleansed. The star is voicing a new STV show which sees ... Read more »

Millionaires call on governments worldwide to ‘tax us now'

© Provided by The Guardian Photograph: PA More than 100 members of the global super-rich called on Wednesday for governments around the world to “tax us now” to help pay ... Read more »

Northern leaders to put culture at centre of region's post-pandemic recovery

© Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Michael Frodsham/Alamy Think of “the north” and images that come to mind include Antony Gormley’s Angel of the North, the sculpture of Henry Moore ... Read more »

Aldi beats Lidl, Tesco and Asda to be crowned cheapest supermarket of the year

The battle of the baskets has been won by Aldi which has been crowned the cheapest supermarket of the year by consumer watchdog Which?. But the study also found families ... Read more »

California offers college students $10K for public service

© Provided by Associated Press FILE – California Gov. Gavin Newsom discusses his budget proposal on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022, in Santa Clara, Calif. Newsom announced Tuesday, Jan. 18 that ... Read more »

Florida Democrat sworn in as newest member of House

© Provided by Associated Press Democrat Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick fist bumps a supporter as her husband, Corlie McCormick, looks on at an election night party, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, in Fort ... Read more »

Progressives want to unseat Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, and Rep. Ruben Gallego, a Latino and veteran, is emerging as a favorite

© Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images Arizona Democrat Rep. Ruben Gallego, is a Harvard educated Marine Corp combat veteran whose political future is being watched closely. Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images Democrats are furious ... Read more »

Boris bids to save premiership by ending Plan B as Red Wall MPs circle

The Prime Minister is reportedly hoping that announcing the end of some of England’s Covid restrictions will save his premiership that has become mired in the partygate scandal. Boris Johnson ... Read more »

Australia news live update: PM says MP's Covid vaccine views ‘dangerous'; Victoria reduces booster window to three months as case surge continues

LIVE – Updated at 00:34 Follow the latest news live. Victoria reduces booster wait time to three months immediately 00:34 Daniel Andrews has announced that, from this moment onwards, Victorians ... Read more »

Hong Kong democracy activist Edward Leung released from prison

© Reuters/TYRONE SIU Supporters of jailed activist Leung, gather outside the High Court as Leung appeals against a conviction and sentence in Hong Kong By Jessie Pang and Joyce Zhou ... Read more »

Australians told to brace for more deaths amid Omicron wave

© Reuters/JAIMI JOY People queue for COVID-19 tests in Sydney SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia should brace for more COVID-19 deaths for the next few weeks, authorities said on Wednesday, as ... Read more »

Jurgen Klopp's January transfer struggles laid bare as Liverpool's defensive trait continues

Liverpool are yet to bring in any new faces this month despite the January transfer window being open for business and star men Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah currently away ... Read more »

Video: Shocking moment PM learns of missing nine-year-old girl's death just minutes after saying he was a praying for a good outcome for the family 

Read more »

From uni student to social media sensation! Nick Kyrgios' glamorous new girlfriend Costeen Hatzi gains more than 18,000 Instagram followers after going public with tennis star

Nick Kyrgios made headlines across the world in December after he went public with his new girlfriend Costeen Hatzi last month. And just weeks later, the 21-year-old interior designer from ... Read more »

Video: Scott Morrison announces MAJOR changes to visas for students and backpackers as PM insists Australia is NOT letting Omicron rip and people should 'respect' the virus not fear it 

Read more »

Video: Even Eric Adams DOESN'T feel safe riding the subway - hours after photos showed commuters waiting on the WRONG SIDE of the turnstiles to avoid screaming man after spate of track shove attacks: Transit crimes spike 65% in the first two weeks of the year 

Read more »

Video: Cost of living crisis puts squeeze on mortgages: Soaring bills mean borrowers could miss out on new homes as banks cut lending

Read more »

Lang zum Jugendwahn beim FCB: «Nur mit 20-Jährigen gewinnt man keinen Blumentopf»

Michael Lang (30) redet Klartext. Über seinen Kampf um den Stammplatz, seinen Wechsel zu Gladbach, Meisterambitionen und den Jugendwahn beim FCB. © TOTO MARTI «Nur mit 20-Jährigen gewinnt man keinen ... Read more »

It's time to end COVID restrictions and restore normalcy in New York

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s COVID-19 mandates are preventing New Yorkers form returning to normalcy. Kevin P. Coughlin / Office of the Governor In her State of the State Address, Gov. Kathy ... Read more »

Inside world's most expensive home as Playboy Princess & stepsons feud over £400m mansion with a stunning secret inside

THIS glorious mansion worth £400million that houses the world's only Caravaggio mural is set to go under the hammer after becoming the subject of a feud between an ex-Playboy model ... Read more »

'Throwaway economy' thwarting climate goals: report

Countries are neglecting the massive impact of the “throwaway” economy on planet-warming emissions, according to research published Wednesday that calculated more than half a trillion tonnes of virgin materials have ... Read more »

Millionaires group calls for wealth tax at virtual Davos

By Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi and Simon Jessop © Reuters/BRENDAN MCDERMID FILE PHOTO: Members of the Patriotic Millionaires hold a federal tax filing day protest in New York ZURICH (Reuters) – ... Read more »

Pro-voting ideas: Say goodbye to making Election Day a federal holiday and other proposals

The ongoing debate over a national standard for voting will reach its climax, for now, on Capitol Hill this week. © Megan Varner/Getty Images Stickers for Georgia voters are seen ... Read more »

Rudy Giuliani among Trump allies subpoenaed by Jan. 6 panel

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House committee investigating the Capitol insurrection issued subpoenas Tuesday to Rudy Giuliani and other members of Donald Trump’s post-election legal team who filed multiple lawsuits claiming ... Read more »

Schumer's daughters work for Amazon, Facebook as he holds power over antitrust bill

Chuck Schumer’s daughter, Jessica Schumer, is a registered lobbyist at Amazon. Bloomberg via Getty Images Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is responsible for shepherding antitrust bills that aim to crack ... Read more »

Scott Morrison chokes up as he learns of schoolgirl's death live on TV - just minutes after saying he was a praying for a good outcome for the nine-year-old and her family

Prime Minister Scott Morrison addressed the case of missing 9-year-old girlHe said he had been 'privately' following the case but made a major mistakeMr Morrison was told of discovery of Charlise Mutten's body as he was speakingMr Morrison acknowledged Australians had experience a 'frustrating summer'He said the Omicron variant should be respected but not feared Mr Morrison provided details on his government's response in various areasHe announced a new visa rebate scheme to bring backpackers back to Australia  Read more »

Mum-of-two, 27, who used to drink 10 coffees a day reveals how she lost 55 KILOS naturally - and the 'magic number' to lose each week for success

Cicily Goodwin, tipped the scales at 128 kilograms before losing weightThe mum managed to shed 55g and keep it off for years afterwardsShe did this by following the Healthy Mummy meal plans and going for walksCicily used to binge on 10 coffees per day and eat takeaway food from KFC  Read more »

The secret to a 'bulletproof core': Osteopath reveals the ONE exercise he does instead of crunches for strong, rippling abs

An osteopath has revealed his secret exercise for getting a bulletproof core Brendon Talbot, from Canada, shared the exercise in a now-viral TikTok videoThe exercise involves passing a kettle bell around the body from each handMr Talbot said the technique can build core stability and lower back strength Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic