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Last Updated : Feb 12, 2020 11:16 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Coronavirus outbreak: WHO officially names disease Covid-19

The ‘Co’ stands for corona, ‘vi’ for virus, ‘d’ for disease, and the ’19’ stands for the year of its outbreak.

World Health Organisation (WHO), on February 11, announced that the novel Coronavirus 2019 would officially be called Covid-19.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced the official name on Twitter. “Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatizing,” Ghebreyesus said.


The ‘Co’ stands for corona, ‘vi’ for virus, ‘d’ for disease, and the ’19’ stands for the year of its outbreak. Tedros said the name had been chosen to avoid references to a specific geographical location, animal species or group of people in line with international recommendations for naming aimed at preventing stigmatisation.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Previously, Covid-19 was called as the 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease by WHO, and China’s National Health Commission temporarily called it novel coronavirus pneumonia.

Ghebreyesus further informed the media that the United Nations (UN) has activated a Crisis Management Team to ensure WHO focuses on Covid-19. At the same time, other agencies are working on the social, economic, and developmental implications of the virus.

WHO expects the first vaccine for coronavirus to be ready in 18 months. The WHO is, meanwhile, working on measures to prevent any further spread of coronavirus.

Covid-19 has, so far, killed over 1,100 people, while infecting over 40,000, mostly in China.

(with inputs from Reuters)
First Published on Feb 12, 2020 11:16 am