WHO renames monkeypox variants

W’WHO renames monkeypox variants

We must now call the variants “clade one [I]” or “clade two [II]” and no longer say from the Congo Basin (Central Africa) or from West Africa.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Friday that it has renamed variants of monkeypox, replacing the names of African regions with Roman numerals, deemed stigmatizing.

These new variant names make it possible to take note of the current reality of the disease. While for a long time this was limited to around ten African countries, the vast majority of new cases this year have been detected elsewhere in the world, particularly in the United States, Europe and Brazil.

In a statement, the WHO also said it was conducting a broad online consultative process to change the name of the disease, which was also deemed misleading and discriminatory, since the virus is not linked only to monkeys, but has been highlighted in many animals and in particular in rodents.

As for the variants, also called clades, they were named after regions or countries in Africa until now, with the West African strain and that of the Congo Basin (Central Africa), the second being much more deadly than its cousin.

At the beginning of June, about thirty scientists, including several from the x27;Afrique, thus wrote a forum to ask to change these names, because they considered it urgent to set up a nomenclature which is neither discriminatory nor stigmatizing.

Anyone who thinks they have caught the monkeypox virus is urged to contact a doctor or dial 811.

They were heard by the WHO, which brought together virologists and public health experts on August 8 to reach a consensus on a new terminology.

Consensus has been reached to designate the old Congo Basin (Central Africa) clade as clade one [I] and the old West African clade as clade two [II], the organization said on Friday.

Furthermore, clade II has been agreed to consist of two subclades. […] Thus, the new naming convention includes clade I, clade IIa and clade IIb, with the latter referring primarily to the group of variants that are circulating widely in the 2022 global epidemic, added the x27;WHO.

The new clade names are effective immediately.

The name of the disease – monkey pox – is the x27;legacy of the conditions in which the disease was discovered in the 1950s: Danish researchers had discovered it in monkeys in their laboratory.

Worldwide, more than 31 665 cases and 12 deaths have been reported, according to the WHO, which triggered its highest level of alert at the end of July in order to strengthen the fight against the disease.

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