An international panel of experts convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) has agreed to name monkeypox variants with Roman numerals as part of efforts to sort out disease subgroup designations, a- we announced today.
“Current best practice is that newly identified viruses, related diseases and virus variants should be named with the aim of avoiding offense to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional or ethnic group and to minimize any impact negative on trade, travel, tourism or animal welfare,” the WHO said in a statement.
According to the organization, specialists in smallpox, evolutionary biology and representatives of research institutes around the world reviewed the phylogeny and nomenclature of known and new variants or caulds (subgroups of the virus) of Monkeypox, the virus that causes smallpox in monkeys.
“They discussed the characteristics and evolution of monkeypox virus variants, their apparent phylogenetic and clinical differences, and possible public health implications and future virological and evolutionary investigations,” the WHO said.
The group reached consensus on a new nomenclature for virus variants in line with best practice, agreeing on how they should be recorded and classified at genomic sequence repository ‘sites’.
“A consensus was reached to now designate the former Congo Basin (Central Africa) clade as Clade I and the former West Africa clade as Clade II. Further, it was agreed that the Clade II consists of two subclades,” he noted. . .
The naming structure will be represented by a Roman numeral for the clade and an alphanumeric character for the subclades.
Thus, according to the WHO, the new order includes Clade I, Clade IIa and Clade IIb, with the latter primarily referring to the group of variants circulating during the 2022 global outbreak.
“The naming of the lines will be proposed by the scientists as the epidemic evolves. The specialists will be called again if necessary”, specified the specialized health entity.
The new names for the clades should take effect “immediately”, the WHO added.
Monkeypox virus was named after its discovery in 1958, before best practices for naming diseases and viruses were adopted, after being identified by the geographic regions where it was known to circulate.