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Finally coronavirus has a name and that’s COVID-19, says WHO

Updated on:4 March 2020, 18:36pm IST
With every passing day more and people are getting infected and the death toll has reached almost 1,000 not by coronavirus but by COVID-19. Yes, that’s what coronavirus is called now.
Reuters
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Coronavirus has been renamed as COVID-19. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

Coronavirus now doesn’t exist. Don’t be stunned; what we mean is that it has been renamed by World Health Organisation (WHO) and it’s now officially called COVID-19.

“We now have a name for the disease and it’s COVID-19,” WHO chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told reporters in Geneva.

What does COVID-19 stand for?
“COVID-19 stands for coronavirus disease in 2019,” said Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, at a press briefing.

She explained that there are many coronaviruses, and this style of naming will provide a format for referring to new coronavirus diseases in future years. “The virus itself is named by international group of virologists who will look into the taxonomy,” she said. “But it is important to have a name for this disease that everybody uses.”

coronavirus prevention
To avoid coronavirus on flights, wash your hands frequently. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

This news has come after increased concern in the science fraternity as a new virus that has infected tens of thousands of people and killed more than 1,000.

The World Health Organization has officially named the disease caused by the coronavirus COVID-19. This will replace various monikers and hashtags given to the emerging illness over the past few weeks.

In fact, after witnessing the severity of the situation the virus has been designated SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses.

China’s National Health Commission decided to temporarily call the disease novel coronavirus pneumonia, or NCP. But because viruses continue to spread from animals to people, this coronavirus won’t be novel for long.

Two more diseases caused by coronavirus were named
SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) were also named describing their clinical manifestations.

novel coronavirus
Place your bet on N95 mask if you want to stay away from the havoc of novel coronavirus. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

Shortly after the WHO announced the disease’s official name, the virus causing it was named SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. In a paper posted to the bioRxiv preprint server, the Committee’s study group on coronaviruses explains that this term highlights the new virus’ similarity to the SARS virus identified in 2003.

Good news is that a vaccine for COVID-19 will be available soon
The first vaccine targeting China’s coronavirus could be available in 18 months, “…so we have to do everything today using available weapons”, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in Geneva.

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