Intended for healthcare professionals


Sixty seconds on . . . naming strains

BMJ 2021; 372 doi: (Published 25 January 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;372:n218
  1. Tom Moberly
  1. The BMJ

What’s in a name?

General bewilderment, it turns out, when we’re talking about SARS-CoV-2 variants. More and more potentially worrying variants are being identified, but there’s no agreed way of naming them. A report in Nature this month said that researchers are being left in a world of confusion.1 Even terms like “variant,” “lineage,” and “strain” don’t have unambiguous definitions.

Naming strains is a strain?

Exactly. “All of us are becoming …

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