So far, the WHO has followed the Greek alphabet to name the SARS-CoV-2 virus variants that have emerged.
As a result, the agency was expected to name the last variant first discovered in South Africa “nu,” which comes after “mo,” the previous variant identified on August 30.
However, the WHO skipped the next letter in the alphabet, such as Nu as well as Xi, with many social media users wondering if the goal was to avoid offending Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
Now the body removes the controversy. In a statement sent to the Associated Press, the World Health Organization made it clear that it had deleted No’s name to ensure greater clarity and character to avoid offending anyone in general.
“It is easy to confuse ‘no’ with ‘new’ and ‘xi’ because it is a common nickname,” the WHO said, adding that “the agency’s best naming practices seek to avoid offending anyone,” in “cultural, social or national groups”. regional, occupational, or ethnic.
This is the first time that the World Health Organization has skipped letters when naming coronavirus variants. Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta are currently “interesting variants” of the Omicron. Others, such as Lambda, Kappa and Mu, were identified as ‘variants of interest’, that is, less severe.
The Omicron variant appears to contain a large number of mutations in the Spike protein, which facilitates its spread. The WHO said preliminary evidence “indicates an increased risk of reinfection” compared to other variables of concern.
But scientists are still investigating what exactly these genetic changes mean, to see if the variant is more transmissible or dangerous. So far, there is no indication that the variant causes more serious disease.
The World Health Organization warned today that the global risk posed by the new alternative is “extremely high”. “Because of the higher mutations in Omicron, with the potential to be more resistant to immunization and more contagious, the risk of transmission of the variant worldwide is ‘high,” according to an official document.
“There may be new waves of Covid-19 with severe consequences, depending on many factors, such as where these waves occur,” the organism adds.
In the face of these risks, the WHO is urging member states to take some priority measures, including “accelerating vaccination against COVID-19 as quickly as possible, especially among the vulnerable population who remain unvaccinated.”
It also urges all countries to increase surveillance measures, to report potential cases or outbreaks associated with the variant, and for laboratories to increase the sequencing work needed to analyze the structure of the coronavirus.
Ómicron has already appeared in many countries, leaving governments around the world in a struggle to stop transmission, specifically in Portugal, where 13 cases have already been identified. research Here All countries that reported infections with this variant.
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