ORONO – A lot of different names are circulating for the 2019 novel coronavirus.
The World Health Organization officially named the disease COVID-19, CO referring to corona, VI for virus, D for disease and 19 for 2019, the year it started.
According to a professor at the University of Maine, COVID-19 refers to the disease caused by the coronavirus, or SARS-CoV-2.
“And prior to that they were actually calling it the 2019 novel coronavirus. But it was since renamed and the reason that it was renamed is because it was so closely related to the SARS coronavirus that was responsible for the SARS outbreak which occurred in 2002-2003,” said Melissa Maginnis, assistant professor of microbiology.
Study groups with experts of that particular virus family create the names for viruses.
Maginnis has been a virologist for 19 years and said they look at specific classifications of the virus and use information such as the sequence and characteristics to come up with the name.