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Halfway there: WHO may name COVID-19 variants after constellations once Greek alphabet is done


The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that any COVID-19 variants discovered after the governing health body has used up all the letters of the Greek alphabet may be named after constellations.

The WHO started naming variants after letters in the Greek alphabet in May, and the latest iteration, the variant “Mu,” marks the halfway point in the 24-letter series.

Last month, WHO COVID-19 technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove said the organization was considering using star constellations as the next set of codenames and is reviewing proposals to make sure the new names will not cause any upset to the public.

The WHO has repeatedly said that naming variants after the location where they are first identified may end up stigmatising a country or place. Top Stories

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