WHO gives new names to variants of monkeypox virus

August 15,2022


The World Health Organ­ization (WHO) has an­nounced new names for variants of the monkeypox virus that are currently in circulation. This is to avoid causing any cultur­al or social offense, the WHO ex­plained in a statement on Friday.


A group of global experts con­vened by the WHO decided on the new names.


Experts will now refer to the former Congo Basin clade (group of variants) in Central Africa as Clade I, and the former West Af­rican clade as Clade II. The latter consists of two sub-clades, Clade IIa and Clade IIb, of which Clade IIb was the main group of vari­ants circulating during the 2022 outbreak.


WHO said the new names for the clades should be used imme­diately.


Newly-identified viruses, related diseases, and virus vari­ants should be given names that avoid causing offense to any cul­tural, social, national, regional, professional, or ethnic groups, and which minimize any negative impact on trade, travel, tourism or animal welfare, WHO added.


The monkeypox virus was named when it was first discov­ered in 1958. Major variants were identified by the geographic re­gions where they were known to circulate.


WHO officially declared late last month that the current mul­ti-country monkeypox outbreak had turned into a public health emergency of international con­cern.


According to WHO’s situa­tion report on the monkeypox outbreak published on Wednes­day, there have now been 27,814 laboratory-confirmed cases, and 11 deaths from the disease in 89 countries and regions worldwide, with Europe and the Americas being hit the hardest.

SOURCE: Xinhua