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COVID-19 has been a lesson in Greek letters, one variant at a time – Nationwide

COVID-19 has been a lesson in Greek letters, one variant at a time – Nationwide

The Greek alphabet arrived on the world stage and into on a regular basis lexicon using on waves of the novel coronavirus because the World Well being Group started naming variants within the Glagolitic script.

Because the variants mutated, from Alpha to Delta after which Omicron, individuals started paying attention to the 24 Greek letters. Omicron is the fifteenth letter of the Greek alphabet. Omega is the final.

In June, an skilled committee led by a working group of the World Well being Group introduced they’d be utilizing the Greek alphabet to call the variants.

“These might be simpler to recollect and extra sensible to make use of than alphanumerical designations,” stated the paper.

“The Greek alphabet is properly established as being generic, because the names of its particular person letters have already been used for a mess of functions.”

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Learn extra:

Omicron FAQ: All the things it’s good to know in regards to the COVID-19 variant

Mark Pallen, one of many authors of the paper, stated the scientific technique of utilizing letters and numbers was cumbersome and complicated. Most individuals resorted to utilizing the title of the place the place the variant was first found, making a stigma for that nation, he famous.

“And so, there was a recognition that one thing simpler and snappy was wanted.”

Click to play video: 'UBC researchers provide first molecular-level analysis of Omicron spikes'

UBC researchers present first molecular-level evaluation of Omicron spikes

UBC researchers present first molecular-level evaluation of Omicron spikes

Quickly after, the World Well being Group determined to make use of Greek letters.

It was a “little bit of an oversight,” he stated in an interview, that no person requested permission from the Greeks.

“And we fell into the error, which is kind of a typical mistake,” stated Pallen, a professor of microbial genomics on the College of East Anglia in Norwich, England. “When individuals discuss in regards to the Greeks, they usually imply the traditional Greeks, and so they overlook that the Greeks nonetheless exist as a nation.”

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But it surely appears the Greeks shrugged off the affiliation of their language to the variants with basic stoicism.

Learn extra:

Right here’s why WHO skipped 2 Greek letters to call new variant ‘Omicron’

Panayiotis Pappas, chair of linguistics at Simon Fraser College who makes use of nonbinary pronouns, stated the “fact is that it’s unremarkable” to any Greek that the letters are used to call lethal variants.

And it’s not simply the letters, as “so many” Greek phrases are utilized in science, Pappas stated in an interview.

The linguistics professor reads Greek newspapers and scoured them for response to the letters getting used to call the variants.

“There are many different lethal illnesses which have Greek names, and we don’t complain about that.”

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Still to early to say whether Omicron variant is less severe than Delta, WHO says'

COVID-19: Nonetheless to early to say whether or not Omicron variant is much less extreme than Delta, WHO says

COVID-19: Nonetheless to early to say whether or not Omicron variant is much less extreme than Delta, WHO says

Pappas grew up in northern Greece on a small island known as Thasos earlier than shifting to the USA for his or her schooling after which taking a job at Simon Fraser College in Burnaby, B.C.

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“Greeks don’t even care if the phrases get mispronounced or something like that,” Pappas stated.

“They’ve all the time thought of it as a mark of delight that, you already know, we have now a civilization that’s about 3,000 years outdated and that we’re in a position to contribute to Western science.”

Tom Archibald, a arithmetic professor at Simon Fraser College, studied Greek in highschool in Ontario for 3 years. His data of recent Greek is “fairly unhealthy”, he stated, however he can learn it with the help of a dictionary.

“I imply, each working mathematician principally is aware of the Greek alphabet, even when they’ll’t say it so as.”

Pappas stated using the Greek alphabet to call variants has led to extra curiosity in linguistic programs.

“The one factor that we have now seen a little bit of a rise in linguistics in our programs, which clarify language origins and phrase origins, what we name the science of etymology, as extra college students have an interest within the well being sciences fields, the place numerous the background of the English phrase is both Greek or Latin,” the professor stated.

“We provide programs that undergo these explanations, and people have seen fairly a little bit of an increase in recognition. Folks don’t wish to be taught the language, per se, however they do wish to perceive the place these phrases come from.”

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© 2021 The Canadian Press

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