'Centaurus' and BA.5: What to know about latest COVID-19 variants

One day in the future children will learn about Covid-19 and the variants it produced - including one nicknamed 'Centaurus' by a guy on Twitter.

That's right, the nickname of the BA.2.75 a sublineage of Omicron variant got it's nickname because one man on Twitter decided that was its name.

Twitter user Xabier Ostale tweeted in early July warning people of a powerful new Covid variant and dubbed it Centaurus.

"I have just named BA.275 variant after a galaxy. Its new name is Centaurus strain. Get used to it. Today, I'm in command of anything pandemic," Ostale wrote.

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Even though Ostale does not have many followers, the name seemingly stuck with major news outlets and people online using Centaurus to refer to the Covid strain which has become fast-moving.

As publications like The Guardian, The Sun, Fortune, and more use the sublineage's nickname, more people are discovering that one man just made it up.

The World Health Organization has listed the new variant under "Omicron subvariants under monitoring". Since the variant has been mostly attributed to cases in India, the Center For Disease Control (CDC) has not yet listed it as a variant of concern or emerging variant. Although cases of BA.2.75 have popped up in the US.

In addition, the variant has been detected in at least 10 other countries including Australia, UK, and Canada.

BA.2.75 is considered highly transmissible but the severity of disease is not clear as there have not been enough cases to understand its impact fully.

WHO names strains of Covid to help communicate information to the public about each one and so people can distinguish between variants. Notably they've kept to naming variants according to the Greek alphabet to prevent stigma from arising.

However, Ostale believes naming subvariants like BA.2.75 is important so people do not just associate fast-spreading subvariants with the original one.

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