Red circular particles with some white circular particles on a blue background.

WHO changes names of monkeypox variants. The name ‘monkey pox’ will soon change

A group of experts convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) has given new names to the variants of monkeypox virus.

And the names for the virus and the disease itself appear to be changing soon, too.

Let’s extract the changes and why this is happening.

What are the new names?

There are two variants of monkeypox – one of which has two sub-variants.

Following the meeting of virologists and public health experts convened by the WHO, it was decided:

  • The Congo Basin variant is now called Clade one
  • The West African variant will now be referred to as Clade two

The experts agreed that the second clade consisted of two subclades.

And they decided on a naming convention with a Roman numeral for the clade number and a lowercase letter for the subclades.

So the new names are:

  • Clade I
  • Clade IIa
  • Clade IIb

Clade IIb is the group of variants dominating the current global outbreak.

The WHO says: these name changes should take effect immediately.

What is a clade?

It is a term for a group of organisms that come from a common ancestor.

Are they changing the name ‘monkeypox’?

It looks very similar, but we don’t know when that will happen.

The WHO is holding an open consultation to come up with the new disease name – and is currently taking suggestions.

It says the responsibility for renaming existing diseases falls under the WHO International Classification of Diseases and the WHO Family of International Health Related Classifications.

The name of the virus that causes the disease is also likely to be changed by the International Committee on the Taxonomy of Viruses.

Remember, the disease is different from the virus that causes the disease — like how COVID-19 is the name of the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Monkeypox got its name after it was discovered in research monkeys in 1958. (CDC through UN)

What is the origin of monkey pox?

Monkeypox got its name because it was first identified in monkeys used in a research lab in Denmark in 1958, the WHO says:.

But it wasn’t discovered in humans until 1970 — the first confirmed case was in a nine-month-old boy from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

This was all long before the WHO came up with its disease name conventions in 2015.

And the main variants were named after the places that were known to circulate.

Why change the names?

To reduce stigma and discrimination and be more accurate.

In an open letter on a virus discussion forum29 scientists called for the urgent renaming of the monkeypox tribes to something more neutral.

Essentially, they said that monkeypox naming conventions gave the impression that the disease was an African problem. This is not only due to the names of the geographical variants, but as others have noted, because monkeys are not often associated with western countries.

#names #monkeypox #variants #monkey #pox #change

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.