WHO Names P.3 COVID-19 Variant As “Theta”

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WHO officially named P.3 COVID-19 variant as “Theta”.

The World Health Organization (WHO) had officially named P.3 COVID-19 variant — a variant first detected in the Philippines — as “Theta”.

COVID-19 variant
Photo source: Rappler

On Tuesday, the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) announced that the P.3 COVID-19 variant first detected in the Philippines had been named “Theta” by the World Health Organization.

The said variant was first detected in the Philippines last January 2021 and remained a variant of interest (VOI).

PGC’s announcement came after the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Monday that COVID-19 variants were to be known by letters of the Greek alphabet in order to prevent stigmatizing nations where they’re first detected.

READ ALSO: India Asks Social Media Companies To Remove Reference To “Indian Variant” Of COVID-19

While they have their advantages, these scientific names can be difficult to say and recall, and are prone to misreporting. As a result, people often resort to calling variants by the places where they are detected, which is stigmatizing and discriminatory. To avoid this and to simplify public communications, WHO encourages national authorities, media outlets and others to adopt these new labels,” the WHO said in a statement.

The said move came nearly three weeks after India objected to the B.1.617 COVID-19 variant being termed as “Indian variant” in media reports.

As of May 29, the Philippines had tallied 162 cases of the P.3 COVID-19 variant.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization had been trying to come up with a simplified new nomenclature for the COVID-19 variants for several months.

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