All These Mutant Virus Strains Need New Code Names

As potentially more dangerous variants of Covid-19 spread, scientists are taking a crack at giving them clearer names that’ll help in the fight.

It’s not Tulio de Oliveira’s fault that every mutated variant of the virus that causes Covid-19 has more than one name, much less that they all read like hack-proof passwords. But de Oliveira might have inspired a new, international push to change that system.

A bioinformatician and director of the KwaZulu-Natal Research and Innovation Sequencing Platform at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, de Oliveira leads the team that in December identified one of those variants—a version of SARS-CoV-2 with a mutation that

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