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The disease caused by the novel coronavirus believed to have originated at a market in Wuhan, China, which has claimed more than 1,000 lives and sickened more than 40,000 people, now has a name, the World Health Organization has announced:
The disease’s name is derived from the words corona and virus — the term coronavirus describing viruses with spiky surfaces that, under a microscope, cause them to resemble crowns — and disease, with the “19” representing the year, 2019, that it emerged, according to the BBC.
The outbreak was reported to the WHO on New Year’s Eve.
An international virus-taxonomy organization has suggested that the virus, as opposed to the disease it brings on, be called SARS-CoV-2, reports STAT News.
Other notable coronaviruses include the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) pandemic of 2002-03 and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) outbreak in South Korea in 2015, but the common cold, too, is a coronavirus.