Why Is It Called Omicron?

By FPL_ Staff

When the Delta Variant began to spread, people were concerned by the new strain of the Coronavirus. The Greek alphabet has been used since around 800 B.C and is the oldest alphabetic system still currently in use. One application is to keep track of virus variations. When following the traditional virology nomenclature, omicron means it is the 15th variation of the virus strain; with each variation, a virus gets weaker.

Letter
English Equivalent
Numeric Value
Alpha A 1
Beta B 2
Gamma G 3
Delta D 4
Epsilon E 5
Zeta Z 7
Eta - 8
Theta TH 9
Iota - 10
Kappa K 20
Lamda L 30
Mi or Mu M 40
Ni or Nu N 50
Ksi X 60
Omikron (later omicron) O 70
Pi P 80
Rho R 100
Sigma S 200
Tau T 300
Ypsilon (later upsilon) Y 400
Phi PH 500
Khi or Chi H 600
Psi PS 700
Omega - 800

These 24 letters became the basis for many other alphabets throughout history and influenced world culture. For instance, the phrase “Alpha and Omega” means “The First and the Last.” These letters are used in math, science, and engineering (gamma radiation turned Bruce Banner into The Hulk), for sorority and fraternity names (you’ll often hear of events such as Greek Week on campus), or to name honor societies.

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