WHO renames two monkeypox variants
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Saturday that it renamed variants of the virus monkeypox as it looks to counter concerns about the original naming conventions.
“Newly identified viruses, related diseases & virus variants are given names to avoid causing offence to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional, or ethnic groups, & minimize the negative impact on trade, travel, tourism, or animal welfare,” the WHO said in its announcement.
New names: The Congo Basin and West African variants were reclassified as Clade I and Clade II, the latter of which has two subclades. The new names go into effect immediately.
A global expert group decided on the new naming convention “as part of ongoing efforts to align the names of the monkeypox disease, virus, and variants—or clades—with current best practices.”
Going further: The WHO is also workshopping new names for the monkeypox virus as a whole, including the disease it causes, after outcry over potential stigmatization. The WHO cautioned early in the COVID-19 pandemic against referring to the virus as the “China virus” or the “Wuhan virus” due to potential discrimination.