The World Health Organization is to rename monkeypox amidst an ongoing outbreak, the Guardian reports.
In a report posted last week to virological.org, an international group of researchers called for such a name change. They argued that the virus's nomenclature is "discriminatory and stigmatizing" and said that nomenclature that is neutral and avoids geographic references is needed. In their report, the researchers suggest that the strains infecting animals be referred to as MPXV clades 1, 2, and 3. They further call for the virus infecting humans be given a new name and suggests that the various strains of the virus — which they refer to with the placeholder name hMPXV — be referred to by their lineage names, such as 'A.1,' 'A.2,' 'A.1.1,' and so forth.
The Guardian notes that similar nomenclature changes were adopted in the COVID-19 pandemic to avoid calling new variants after geographical locations. They are instead referred to by Greek letters.
There have been a growing number of cases of hMPXV disease across the world, including in the UK. There, there have been 524 confirmed cases of the disease as of June 14, according to the UK Health Security Agency.
The Associated Press adds that the WHO is also to discuss whether this outbreak should be considered a global health emergency.