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WHO Cares About Virus Names

Posted in LENT

Last updated on February 18, 2021

We’ve all been affected–hopefully not infected–by Covid-19, learned all about the disease it causes, and how this microscopic creature can dismantle our way of life. Here’s how the pathogen got its name.

SARS-CoV-2 is the official name the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses gave the disease caused by a new coronavirus which scientists found is a relative of the coronavirus that caused the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak in 2003. However, the official name is too hard to roll off the tongue every second.

Early in the outbreak, the virus was named 2019-nCoV. Remember the name novel coronavirus? That was its first name used by the World Health Organization, but the WHO needed an easy-to-say name so, now we have Covid-19 (coronavirus disease of 2019). While not the official name it gets the job done naming the virus, the disease it causes and the year it launched its assault on us. And best of all it’s easy to say when we can eventually gather at our favourite pub, raise a glass of our favourite brew and praise our beloved Saviour Jesus for helping us through the battle and drawing us closer to HIm.