US President Donald Trump confronted criticism for calling the virus that causes Covid-19 the “Chinese language virus” , with accusations that he was serving to strengthen bigotry in opposition to Asians, particularly Chinese language. Even when the illness was categorised as an outbreak, it was labelled because the Wuhan virus, after the Chinese language metropolis turned floor zero for the pandemic. So how is the identify of a illness and virus determined?
No negatives: WHO, at the side of the World Organisation for Animal Well being (OIE) and the Meals and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), has issued pointers for the naming of a brand new illness or a pathogen that causes it. Accordingly, there must be no “pointless damaging affect of illness names on commerce, journey, tourism or animal welfare, and keep away from inflicting offence to any cultural, social, nationwide, regional, skilled or ethnic teams.”
The constituents: As such, the identify ought to have a generic descriptive time period (like respiratory illness), a particular descriptive time period (similar to extreme in SARS) and the causative pathogen (like, novel coronavirus respiratory syndrome). Care must be noticed to not equate the pathogen with the illness as it could trigger multiple illness. The identify also needs to be quick or one thing that may be simply abbreviated, similar to Covid-19 and so far as attainable, meet the rules of the Worldwide Classification of Illnesses (ICD).
Strict no-no: WHO says the identify of a illness or a virus mustn’t embody geographic areas, folks’s names (similar to Chagas disease), animal or meals names (eg, swine flu or monkey pox), references to any tradition, occupation, trade or occupation and phrases that incite worry (similar to demise, unknown, epidemic or deadly). Paradoxically — and it is a BIG irony — the WHO accredited the usage of the phrases Center East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and MERS-Cov, regardless of a transparent mandate not to take action.
Naming of Covid-19: Whereas ailments are named by WHO, viruses are named by the Worldwide Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) — which explains why viruses are sometimes otherwise named from ailments. For instance, HIV is the virus that causes AIDS whereas rubeola causes measles. Covid-19 stands for COronaVIrusDisease (Covid) and because it was first recognized in 2019, it is known as Covid-19. The virus inflicting it, extreme acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was so named because it’s genetically just like the one which causes SARS — the virus inflicting SARS is SARS-Cov.
Curiously, even Covid-19 will not be the ultimate identify for the illness because it’s depending on affirmation by the ICD at a later stage, says the WHO.