As millions of people across the globe have received vaccinations for the COVID-19 virus, new emerging strains may be named after star constellations if they outnumber the 24 letters of the Greek alphabet, according to the World Health Organization’s Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove.
As new strains of the coronavirus emerge following the widespread vaccination of the global populous, new COVID-19 variants could be named after star constellations “once letters of the Greek alphabet are exhausted,” reported The Telegraph. “Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical chief for Covid-19, said the UN health agency was already looking at new names for mutations amid fears there will be more concerning variants than the 24 letters of the Greek alphabet.”
Millions of people have received vaccinations for the COVID-19 virus, yet multiple “variants” of the disease have emerged. The delta and beta, including other two strains, have been listed as “variants of concern.” The other “four variants of interest,” include the eta and lambda strains. The epsilon, zeta and theta strains were initially thought to be “of interest,” but have since been “downgraded.”
As noted by The Telegraph, “as the coronavirus continues to mutate, it is possible there will be more key strains than available letters. Dr Van Kerkhove said star constellations are the current frontrunner to follow the Greek alphabet, suggesting we could one day see variants” named after constellations such as Aries, Gemini or Orion. “We will possibly run out of the Greek alphabet, but we’re already looking at the next series of names,” said Dr Van Kerkhove. “We’re actually considering star constellations.”
According to report, these new mutated variants are attributing to concerns that the virus “evades” the current vaccines. “It’s certainly possible that you could have mutations that will evade our countermeasures… and that’s why it’s so critical that we just don’t rely only on vaccines, that we do everything we can to really drive transmission down,” said Dr Van Kerkhove.
One popular film regarding a contagion in the United States, named after a star constellation, would be the 1971 movie known as “The Andromeda Strain.”
When virtually all of the residents of Piedmont, New Mexico, are found dead after the return to Earth of a space satellite, the head of the US Air Force’s Project Scoop declares an emergency. Many years prior to this incident, a group of eminent scientists led by Dr. Jeremy Stone (Arthur Hill) advocated for the construction of a secure laboratory facility that would serve as a base in the event an alien biological life form was returned to Earth from a space mission. Stone and his team – Drs. Dutton, Leavitt and Hall (David Wayne, Kate Reid, and James Olson, respectively)- go to the facility, known as Wildfire, and try to first isolate the life form while determining why two people from Piedmont (an old wino and a six-month-old baby) survived. The scientists methodically study the alien life form unaware that it has already mutated and presents a far greater danger in the lab, which is equipped with a nuclear self-destruct device should it manage to escape.