HomeWorld NewsWHO wants to give a new name to monkeypox : NPR

WHO wants to give a new name to monkeypox : NPR


A medical technician shows a suspected sample of monkeypox at the microbiology laboratory of the La Paz hospital on June 6 in Madrid. The World Health Organization is working with experts to change the name of the virus.

Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images


hide caption

toggle caption

Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images


A medical technician shows a suspected sample of monkeypox at the microbiology laboratory of the La Paz hospital on June 6 in Madrid. The World Health Organization is working with experts to change the name of the virus.

Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

Monkeypox is set to get a new name, according to the World Health Organization, after scientists recently criticized the current name as “discriminatory and stigmatising”. The researchers say it is also inaccurate to name versions of the virus after certain parts of Africa.

The WHO is working with experts “to change the name of the monkeypox virus, its clades and the disease it causes,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Tuesday during a briefing. briefing on the epidemic.

Tedros is also calling an emergency meeting next week to discuss the virus, which he says is not behaving like it has in the past.

Experts call for change

A group of 29 biologists and other researchers launched a public call for a new nomenclature around monkeypox last week on virological.org. They said the current international outbreak “has been detected with no clear link to Africa”.

Despite “mounting evidence that the most likely scenario is that cryptic human transmission across the continent has been going on for longer than previously thought,” the scientists said, one public narrative persists to suggest that the current outbreak is linked to Africa, West Africa or Nigeria. . This builds on an existing stigma, they said.

“The most obvious manifestation of this is the use of photos of African patients to depict smallpox lesions in mainstream media in the North,” the researchers said.

The authors of the article include Ahmed Ogwell, deputy director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and more than a dozen infectious disease experts in the United States and Europe.

As for the name of the virus, the scientists suggest starting with hMPXV, to designate the human version of the monkeypox virus. Rather than geographic locations, they say, letters and numbers should be used, based on the order of discovery. In this system, the bloodline behind the current international outbreak would be dubbed B.1.

Monkeypox spreads and behaves differently, says Tedros

Monkeypox has been reported in 39 countries so far in 2022, and most of them are experiencing their very first cases of the disease, according to the WHO. Worldwide, he says, there are about 3,100 confirmed or suspected cases, including 72 deaths.

“The global outbreak of monkeypox is clearly unusual and concerning,” Tedros said.

Elaborating on this idea later in the briefing, Tedros said: “The virus is behaving in unusual ways compared to how it behaved in the past. But not only that, it is also affecting more and more countries.” .

Tedros said he was convening the WHO’s emergency committee on June 23 “to assess whether this outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern.”

Must Read