It is difficult to understand and provide names to virus lineage. The reason behind this complication? Each disease’s names are given with jumbled strings of various elements such as letters, dot,s, and maybe numbers. For example, think of B.1.312. If you put a drop between 1 and 2, i.e., B.1.31.2, this will refer to a completely different virus variant.
Why Do Virus Variants Have Strange Names?
As the population is increasing rapidly, it has become difficult for people to understand the virus names. Previously, this process for perfect as it all depended on limited researches.
The WHO stated that this new method of naming a virus would solve the absurd process that faced before. It will become easier for people to pronounce and remember the names of all the viruses they are concerned about, even without altering or affecting a negative impact on nations and people.
Trevor Bedford, a member of the FHCRC in Seattle, states that there has to be a way to name thousands of variants out there. Marking them is another big task, and an alternative has to emerge. This was supported by two working members who are W.H.O’s leading candidate, and they explained that numbering the variants in proper order like – V1, V2, V3, and so on, in the order, they are defined would be the solution.
Previously, it was not difficult to call or naming a disease. An example stated that Syphilis was named after a mythological story of Apollo god cursing a Shepheard. But increase the variants cannot be as simple as it looks. According to Richard Barnett, a British Science Historian, after 1600, when the world of microbes started to reveal various truths, scientists began to name them as per shapes. But are shapes the only factor to be looked after? Different symptoms of the diseases play an important role now. The microbes’ shape has just become a medium to identify the type of microbes and nothing else.
The World Health Organization tried to provide an extensive medium for people to name disease. They published an article in 2015 that tried to avoid geographic locations, food types, people’s names, or any such ‘word’ that may confuse naming a variant of the disease.
Oliver Pybus, the developer of the Pango system, explained the importance of naming a disease. He stated, “You can’t track anything you can’t name,” which we agree without any argument. It was presented by saying the example of ‘B.1’, which is an ‘ancestry encoding’ of the disease connected to an outbreak in Italy caused during the last spring.
History has seen many situations that mixed diseases are varying from country to country. The disease variant name B.1.315 was mistaken by switching up just two digits away from the first variant in South Africa. It was already circulating in the U.S. Tulio de Oliveira, a geneticist who practiced in Nelson Mandela School (a former member of the W.H.O’s working group), said South Africa’s health minister “got very confused” between the disease variant observed and B.1.351.
“We need to come up with a system that is accessible to those who aren’t evolutionary biologists,” he said. People still called B.1.351 the disease variant version of South Africa, but he pleaded with his colleagues to stop using the word and change to another variant name recognized in the U.S.