The WHO announced that a "group of global experts convened by WHO" has:
agreed on new names for monkeypox virus variants, as part of ongoing efforts to align the names of the monkeypox disease, virus and variants—or clades—with current best practices. The experts agreed to name the clades using Roman numerals.
The monkeypox virus was named upon first discovery in 1958, before current best practices in naming diseases and viruses were adopted. Similarly for the name of the disease it causes. Major variants were identified by the geographic regions where they were known to circulate.
Current best practise is that newly-identified viruses, related disease, and virus variants should be given names with the aim to avoid causing offense to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional, or ethnic groups, and minimize any negative impact on trade, travel, tourism or animal welfare.
The group reached consensus on new nomenclature for the virus clades that is in line with best practices. They agreed on how the virus clades should be recorded and classified on genome sequence repository sites.
Consensus was reached to now refer to the former Congo Basin (Central African) clade as Clade one (I) and the former West African clade as Clade two (II). Additionally, it was agreed that the Clade II consists of two subclades.
The proper naming structure will be represented by a Roman numeral for the clade and a lower-case alphanumeric character for the subclades. Thus, the new naming convention comprises Clade I, Clade IIa and Clade IIb, with the latter referring primarily to the group of variants largely circulating in the 2022 global outbreak. The naming of lineages will be as proposed by scientists as the outbreak evolves. Experts will be reconvened as needed.
The new names for the clades should go into effect immediately while work continues on the disease and virus names.
While the "Monkeypox" virus name change is still a work in progress at the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) and the WHO Family of International Health Related Classifications (WHO-FIC), as of this writing there are currently 14 proposed names before the ICTV & WHO-FIC:
- The Greek letter 'X' pronounced 'chi' is the 22nd letter of the Greek alphabet and acknowledges that the current outbreak (2022). The X also can signify the zoonotic nature of transmission, 'crossing' from animal to human.
- I am proposing that the disease, monkeypox (a zoonosis) be renamed XPOX. There is no reference to the word "monkey", but rather, a neutral and inclusive term, zoonosis is referenced through the common usage of the letter 'X'. There is no hiding the characteristic POX of the disease with the eruptions of the skin and mucous membranes. The usage of the 22nd letter of the Greek alphabet represents the year 2022 (the current outbreak) that serves as an indicator that the disease had a history prior to 2022.
- Novelpox / Lunarpox / Brownpox
- Bigpox / Bigpox-22
- It directly relates to the name Smallpox with description of having "bigger" lesions or blisters than that of Smallpox. Furthermore, the name automatically places Bigpox in the same pox family as Smallpox. This also makes it easier for general public to perceive why Smallpox and Bigpox could share the same vaccines.
- an acronym that stands for Bigpox of 2022.
- rodentpox virus
- A Satire.
- HUMOKID-22 is an acronym that stands for 𝐇𝐮man 𝐌𝐨n𝐤eypox 𝐈nfectious 𝐃isease of 20𝟐𝟐.It is abbreviated as HMID.
- To reference the spread of the Roman Empire in regards to the widespread lesions characteristic to the recent outbreak.
- It is an orthopox virus, where ortho means "straight", and Roman legions were straight and orderly.
- Caesar was the name of the intelligent monkey in Planet of the Apes, which allows the name to subtly pay homage to the original name for monkeypox without perpetuating a fear of diseased monkeys.
- Virus can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact
- direct contact can happen during intimate contact, such as sex, Hugging, massage, kissing, touching clothing or objects used during intimate contact.
- nPXV-22 (novel Pox Virus – 22)
- There is no reference to the word "monkey", but acknowledges that the current outbreak (2022) is somewhat novel (lower case n) in terms of the unusual and worrisome human-to-human transmission and mutational dynamics.
- ZPXV-22 (Zoonotic Pox Virus – 22)
- Reflects a zoonosis without reference to the word "monkey", as we know that other non-human animals can host and transmit the virus to humans.
- Poxy McPoxface
- Complying with the X-y Mc-X-face or "Characteristic McCharacteristic" naming schema popularized in an episode of Friends where it was revealed that Ross Geller, had given his students nicknames "because he didn't know their real ones".