experts give virus variants new names

A group of global experts convened by WHO has agreed on new names for variants of the monkeypox virus, as part of ongoing efforts to align disease, virus and variant names for the virus. monkeypox – or clades – on current best practices. Experts have agreed to name the clades using Roman numerals.

The monkeypox virus was named when it was first discovered in 1958, before current best practices in disease and virus naming were adopted. The same goes for the name of the disease it causes. The major variants were identified by the geographic regions where they were known to circulate.

Current best practice is that newly identified viruses, related diseases and virus variants should be given names in order to avoid offending any cultural, social, national, regional, professional or ethnic groups and to minimize any impact negative on trade. , travel, tourism or animal welfare.

Sickness: The attribution of new names to existing diseases is the responsibility of WHO within the framework of the International Classification of Diseases and the WHO Family of International Health-Related Classifications (WHO-FIC). WHO is holding an open consultation for a new disease name for monkeypox. Anyone wishing to suggest new names can do so. here (see CIM-11, Adding proposals).

Virus: The naming of virus species is the responsibility of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV), which has an ongoing process for the naming of the monkeypox virus.

Variants/clades: The naming of variants for existing pathogens is normally the result of debate among scientists. In order to expedite the conclusion of an agreement in the context of the current epidemic, WHO has convened a for that August 8 meeting to allow virologists and public health experts to reach consensus on new terminology.

Experts in smallpox virology, evolutionary biology, and representatives from research institutions around the world reviewed the phylogeny and nomenclature of known and new monkeypox virus variants or clades. They discussed the characteristics and evolution of monkeypox virus variants, their apparent phylogenetic and clinical differences, and potential implications for public health and future virological and evolutionary research.

The group reached consensus on a new nomenclature for virus clades that is consistent with best practice. They agreed on how virus clades should be recorded and classified at genomic sequence storage sites.

A consensus has been reached to now designate the old Congo Basin (Central Africa) clade as Clade one (I) and the old West African clade as Clade two (II). Additionally, it has been agreed that Clade II consists of two subclades.

The proper naming structure will be represented by a Roman numeral for the clade and a lowercase alphanumeric character for the subclades. Thus, the new naming convention includes Clade I, Clade IIa and Clade IIb, the latter referring primarily to the group of variants widely circulating during the global outbreak of 2022. The naming of the lineages will be as proposed by scientists at the as the epidemic evolves. The experts will be reconvened as needed.

The new clade names are expected to take effect immediately while work continues on disease and virus names.

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