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The World Health Organization (WHO) has decided to rename monkeypox. And, the United Nations agency needs your suggestions while finalising a new name for the viral disease. If you have a name in mind, read on.

Why to rename?

Before the current recommended guidelines for naming diseases and viruses were implemented, the monkeypox virus was given its name upon its initial discovery in 1958. The name of the illness it produces is similar. Major varieties were classified according to the geographical areas in which they were believed to be prevalent.

Also Read: Monkeypox: These new symptoms were never related to the disease

The current best practice is to avoid offending any cultural, social, national, regional, professional, or ethnic groups and to limit any detrimental effects on trade, travel, tourism, or animal welfare when naming newly detected viruses, related diseases, and virus variants.

The controversy

The term "monkeypox", according to critics, reinforces racial stereotypes about Black people, Africans, and LGBTQ people and wrongly implies that monkeys are the primary source of the virus. It is discriminatory and stigmatising, according to some scientists.

WHO’s process

Under the International Classification of Diseases and the WHO Family of International Health Related Classifications (WHO-FIC), it is the obligation of WHO to provide new names to existing diseases. A public consultation on a new disease nomenclature for monkeypox is being held by WHO. The International Committee on the Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV), which is in charge of naming virus species, is now working on designating the monkeypox virus.

Also Read: Monkeys are getting killed in this country amid monkeypox scare

WHO called an emergency conference on August 8 to allow virologists and public health specialists to quickly agree on new terminology in the context of the ongoing outbreak.

Who decides the rules?

Experts in monkeypox virology, evolutionary biology, and representatives of research institutes from all around the world reviewed the phylogeny and nomenclature of known and unknown monkeypox virus variations or clades. They discussed the characteristics and evolution of monkeypox virus variants, their phylogenetic and clinical variations that are obvious, and any potential repercussions for virological and evolutionary research as well as public health in the future.

Also Read: Monkeypox in India: Andhra child shows symptoms, gets isolated

The old Congo Basin (Central African) clade was agreed to be referred to as Clade one (I) and the former West African clade as Clade two (II). Furthermore, it was determined that Clade II had two subclades.

“The proper naming structure will be represented by a Roman numeral for the clade and a lower-case alphanumeric character for the subclades. Thus, the new naming convention comprises Clade I, Clade IIa and Clade IIb, with the latter referring primarily to the group of variants largely circulating in the 2022 global outbreak. The naming of lineages will be as proposed by scientists as the outbreak evolves. Experts will be reconvened as needed," says the WHO.

Also Read: India’s first Monkeypox death: Do this to avoid ‘silent transmission’

Anyone, who is interested in suggesting a new name for monkeypox, can do it HERE.

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