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MarketWatch: WHO announces new COVID variant names from Greek Alphabet to avoid ‘stigmatizing’


The World Health Organization (WHO) has created new labels for variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is the the virus that causes COVID-19.

The new labels will use letters of the Greek alphabet instead of the names of places where they were first detected, a practice the WHO says is “stigmatizing and discriminatory.”

See also: More than half of U.S. adults are fully vaccinated, as Memorial Day air travel reaches pre-pandemic levels

The WHO says to create appropriate names for the virus variants it consulted with global experts including those “who are part of existing naming systems, nomenclature and virus taxonomic experts, researchers and national authorities.”

Here is a list of all of the SARS-CoV-2 variants and their names:


The variant discovered in the United Kingdom in September 2020 — B.1.1.7


The variant discovered in South Africa in May 2020 — B.1.351


The variant discovered in Brazil in November 2020 — P.1


The variant discovered in India in October 2020 —  B.1.617.2


The variant discovered in the United States in March 2020 — B.1.427/B.1.429


The variant discovered in Brazil in April 2020 — P.2


The variant discovered in multiple countries in December 2020 — B.1.525


The variant discovered in the Philippines in January 2021 — P.3


The variant discovered in the United States in November 2020 — B.1.526

The announcement from the WHO comes as COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations keep falling as vaccinations rates increase.

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