Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Greek Letters for Variants

The World Health Organization has announced a new Greek alphabet-based naming system for SARS-CoV-2 variants, CNN reports.

It adds that the hope is that the new nomenclature will make it easier for the public to discuss the variants without stigmatizing the countries where the variants were detected. Under this system, the B.1.1.7 variant that was found in the UK is dubbed "Alpha" and the B.1.351 variant uncovered in South Africa is "Beta," while the P.1 variant found in Brazil is "Gamma" and the B.1.617.2 variant identified in India is "Delta." The WHO notes that the new labels are not meant to replace the scientific names of the variants.

Amesh Adalja from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security tells CNN that it would have been better to adopt this nomenclature earlier on, as it might now be harder to get people to use these labels. "There's definitely issues with stigmatization where the variants are being described and then labeling them based on that country," Adalja tells it, adding that, "I think it's just a lot for people to think about this far down the line."

The Scan

NFTs for Genome Sharing

Nature News writes that non-fungible tokens could be a way for people to profit from sharing genomic data.

Wastewater Warning System

Time magazine writes that cities and college campuses are monitoring sewage for SARS-CoV-2, an approach officials hope lasts beyond COVID-19.

Networks to Boost Surveillance

Scientific American writes that new organizations and networks aim to improve the ability of developing countries to conduct SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance.

Genome Biology Papers on Gastric Cancer Epimutations, BUTTERFLY, GUNC Tool

In Genome Biology this week: recurrent epigenetic mutations in gastric cancer, correction tool for unique molecular identifier-based assays, and more.