The World Health Organization (WHO) is working with “partners and experts” to produce a new name for the monkeypox virus, the head of the UN watchdog, Tedros Ghebreyesus, announced Tuesday. The international body is also considering raising its monkeypox alert to the highest level possible.
“WHO is also working with partners and experts from around the world on changing the name of monkeypox virus, its clades (origins) and the disease it causes. We will make announcements about the new names as soon as possible,” Ghebreyesus stated.
The announcement comes after a group of over 30 leading scientists penned an open letter calling for a “non-discriminatory and non-stigmatizing nomenclature for monkeypox virus.” The group argued that the continued reference to the virus as African is both discriminatory and inaccurate, suggesting ‘hMPXV’ as a placeholder name for the monkeypox virus.