With the emergence of various forms of coronavirus in the late 2020, the news quickly became an alphanumeric soup. Remember? UK variant, B.1.351, GR / 501Y.V3. After this first period of unrest, the World Health Organization came up with a new safety system called Alpha, Beta, and Gamma. And we went down to the Greek alphabet, and to Omicron. The system worked.
However, these days, the post-Omicron news landscape has once again turned to alphanumeric soup. A subvariant called Omicron BA.2 now world power. BA.4 a BA.5 it is seen. And a cornucopia of new recombinants has names that seem to follow an inscrutable analysis: XD (a new combination of Delta and BA.1), XE (a new combination of BA.1 and BA.2), XF (a Different recombinant of Delta and BA.1), and so on, to XS (a recombinant of Delta and BA.1.1).
Would it help if I told you that the names actually belong to a local code, very pleased when you read and dig through all the 1,800 words that lay out the rules? No? Well, well, I’ll try to explain where the rules came from and why they are always used, even though the Greek mail system is much simpler than the WHO.
In March 2020, scientists began studying viral development as a way of changing the novel coronavirus. They ran into a common communication problem: What to call a new line after its genome has been arranged? “People in the US are called one thing; People in Europe are called another,” said Áine O’Toole, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Edinburgh. So O’Toole’s counsel, Andrew Rambaut, and a group of colleagues came up with a registration system. They call it Black. O’Toole, the head of Pango’s selection committee, worked on a piece of software called pangolin, which allowed scientists to give a Pango name to a viral genome.
(Yes, Pango There is a saying to pangolins, which was briefly thought to be responsible for the cause of the coronavirus – one of the group’s computational agents behind the animals – and yes, this became confusing over time. Pangolin family It can be used in the form of lines found in pangolins or lines provided by the pangolin manufacturer. In addition, the scientists who spoke with them had no idea how their jargon would be interpreted by others.)
So far, no one has seen the critical role that different types of disease play. Scientists were eager to find ways to track the spread of the disease from one country to another. And there were only two major lines of coronavirus in the first place: A and B. As the disease progressed to various mutations in different parts of the world, scientists used the Black system. name sublineages by adding numbers. B.1.1.7, for example, is the seventh visible sublineage of B.1.1, and the first visible sublineage of B.1. You may well refer to B.1.1.7 as an “Alpha.” O’Toole remembers hearing the BBC talk about “B.1.1.7” at Christmas 2020. “It was very real to me,” he told me. “I remember saying to my sister, ‘Oh, did you see that name there?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, terrible.’ “These names are intended for scientists who are looking for different types. For the general public, he said,” we did not consider it difficult to explain B.1.1.7, B. 1.351, and B.1.128. “
By the end of 2020, the public will no longer have to say the same things. Alpha was the first modulator that actually changed the trajectory of the disease. The world now needs a system to separate “epidemiologically significant diversity” from “diversity.” The Greek mail system WHO will do the first, the Black mail system will be the last.
This part of the responsibility worked well, even though Omicron worked hard. The WHO first selected Omicron variant is called B.1.1.529 under Pango. Scientists soon discovered new subvariants of Omicron, which you may know are BA.1, BA.2, and BA.3. Because names are so long under the Black nomenclature system, the first part of the name is replaced with a new letter – or two letters if the same letters are taken. In describing the Omicron subvariants, it is the second of the messages found BA. So instead of B.1.1.529.2, we have BA.2. In the meantime, we’ve come up with a few Omicron subvariant names that are easy to remember.
BA.1 and BA.2 caused major waves in parts of Europe. The two subvariants are very different from each other, almost as evolutionarily divergent Alpha from Delta. However, the WHO decided in February that Omicron should be considered BA.2, and in the meantime, BA.4 and BA.5 should also be considered. Could a subvariant Omicron look and act differently to get a new Greek message? In retrospect, BA.2 falls into one area that can be argued: The BA.2 wave is larger, if not larger, than the previous BA.1 wave in the other. European countries, but he doesn’t see much of a difference in the U.S. There’s a balance, says O’Toole, between giving a line a name as soon as possible and giving it a name. when you know its epidemiological significance. The first we try to choose different styles with Greek letters, the less we know about what they can do. WHO has selected different types of interest – Epsilon, Eta, Iota, and Lambda, to name a few – without ending a major epidemiological impact.
In recent months, recombinants have become more common, and this is no coincidence. This coronavirus, like other coronaviruses, is capable of reproduction. But in the past, different types of lines were like reuniting in the same way as changing the same processes – that is, they didn’t care much. Today, parts of the world have seen a Delta wave followed by a BA.1 wave followed by a BA.2 wave. The higher the combination of several different lines the more likely it is to reconnect. The Black system considered recombinants from the start, keeping the message X for new generations. Then go down the alphabet and add letters or numbers as usual. The WHO is looking at one recombinant, XD, and if any recombinants start driving cases upwards, they could get a Greek-travel name. Those new grandchildren with confused Pango names make it into the news before we realize how important they are representing a truly different level of media and public interest in the nitty-gritty of viral development.
A naming system that follows the Greek alphabet seems to indicate the linear progress of modern forms. But viral evolution is more like looking at a tree branch and growing. You did not see the branches being cut off and growing long and sticking to the branches. You cannot see distant members join each other as new team members grow taller and stronger. The Greek word system is intended to identify the key members of this tree of viral development. But it doesn’t cover everything – it’s not close. The Black system now has more than 2,000 lines, most of which are left in the dark. And most of the alphanumeric-soup names in the news today will soon go back to obscurity. If they don’t, then maybe we have a new Greek letter to teach.