The World Health Organization (WHO) gave an official name for the illness caused by the new coronavirus: COVID-19.



The virus will now be called “COVID-19”; the “CO” stands for coronavirus, “VI” for virus, “D” for disease and “19” for 2019, as the illness was first detected toward the end of last year.

Until now, versions of the following nomenclature were being used for coronavirus: “nCoV-2019”.

The death toll from the virus has now surpassed 1,000 and has infected tens of thousands of people, the majority of which are in China.


How does the WHO name new diseases?

Under international guidelines, the WHO had to find a name that did not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual or group of people, and which is also pronounceable and related to the disease.

The names should also be short and should be consistent with the guidelines under the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) Content Model Reference Guide.

International Classification of Diseases (ICD), which is also managed by the WHO, provides a final standard name for each human disease according to standard guidelines.

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