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 - Sputnik International, 1920
Omicron COVID Strain
The new COVID variant was initially detected in South Africa and Botswana and sparked major concerns due to its high number of mutations (32). The WHO dubbed the strain Omicron and warned it may prove to be more transmissible and dangerous than other coronavirus variants.

WHO Confirms Some Guesses on Why It Skipped Two Letters and Named New COVID Variant 'Omicron'

© CDCThis illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.11.2021
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The global health body's refusal to name it 'Xi' prompted criticism from US Senator Ted Cruz, who has repeatedly alleged that the WHO is deferential to China and its president – Xi Jinping.
The World Health Organisation's spokesperson, Dr. Margaret Harris, has partially confirmed some of the theories regarding the global body's motivation to skip two letters of the Greek alphabet and name the new variant of COVID-19 – 'Omicron'.
While the assumption that 'Nu' could be mixed up with the word "new" turned out to be correct, the allegation that 'Xi' had been skipped in order not to insult Chinese President Xi Jinping is only partially true.

"[For] 'Nu' the reasoning was people would get confused thinking it was the new variant, rather than a name. And 'Xi' because it’s a common surname and we have agreed [to] naming rules that avoid using place names, people’s names, animal, etc to avoid stigma."

The WHO designated the newly found B.1.1.529 variant of COVID-19 virus "Omicron" during an emergency meeting on 26 November in line with the previously adopted practice of giving them Greek alphabet letters instead of naming them after countries where the variant had been first discovered. The practise was adopted in order to prevent the stigmatisation of these countries.
A logo is pictured outside a building of the World Health Organization (WHO) during an executive board meeting on update on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Geneva, Switzerland, April 6, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.11.2021
Netizens in Grip of Guesswork After WHO Skips Two Greek Letters to Name New COVID Variant
The global health body also designated the Omicron variant a potential threat due to the extensive mutations its spike protein sustained – fearing it could potentially be immune to the existing vaccines that target this protein. However, the WHO and other state health bodies noted that additional research into Omicron is required to make any conclusions about its characteristics.
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