What Is The New Variant Of Covid19 And Why Is It Called Omicron?

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The new dealy covid19 variant found in South Africa is being regarded as the variant of extreme threat by WHO. The variant is said to be found in multiple countries but it was initially reported by South Africa, and this variant has been classified as “Variants of concern” by WHO.

This variant has been named “Omicron” after the 15th letter of Greek alphabets. WHO uses the Greek Albhabets in sequence to name the new variant discovered. Before “Omicron” there were 12 variants of covid19 that were classified as the independent variants in a different category.

This means that the WHO has skipped the two alphabets from the Greek Alphabet.

WHO deliberately skipped Nu and XI.

Why WHO skipped Nu and XI for covid19 variant name?

Paul Nuki, a senior journalist working with The Telegraph quoted WHO sources confirming this reason.

“A WHO source confirmed the letters Nu and Xi of the Greek alphabet had been deliberately avoided. Nu had been skipped to avoid confusion with the word “new” and Xi had been skipped to “avoid stigmatising a region”, they said,” Nuki posted on Twitter.

—- Nu was skipped because it can be confusing with the word “New” from English.

—- Xi was skipped because it stigmatizes a region. – said WHO source.

People are not buying this justification, and wondering is it to please the Chinese president Xi Jinping. WHO has a long history of advocating China in the past and questioned the legitimacy of WHO.

Some dismissed the claims that the choice was made so as not to anger the Chinese government.

Current variants of concern by WHO are Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Omicron so far.

WHO labelled variants and country of origin.

WHO LabelPango LineageCountryCurrent Category
AlphaB.1.1.7 and Q lineagesThe United Kingdom, 01-09-2020Variants of Concern
BetaB.1.351 and descendent lineagesSouth Africa,Variants of Concern
GammaP.1and descendent lineagesBrazilVariants of Concern
DeltaB.1.617.2 and AY lineagesIndiaVariant of Concern
EpsilonB.1.427, B.1.429United States of AmericaFormerly monitored variants
ZetaP.2BrazilFormerly monitored variants
EtaB.1.525Multiple countriesVariants Under Monitoring
thetaP.3PhilippinesFormerly monitored variants
IotaB.1.526United States of AmericaVariants Under Monitoring
KappaB.1.617.1IndiaVariants Under Monitoring
lambdaC.37PeruVariants of Interest
MuB.1.621ColombiaVariants of Interest
NuLetter Skipped
XiLetter Skipped
OmicronB.1.1.529Multiple countries, South AfricaVariants of Concern

WHO has warned that Omicron poses a very high global risk and resultant surges in infection could have severe consequences in some areas. The world is still recovering from the deadly Delta variant, and according to WHO and scientists, this “Omnicron” could be more dangerous than the Delta variant itself.

WION report on the naming of a new variant of covid19, “Omicron”.


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