Researchers at the Universities of Oxford and Edinburgh have announced the formalization of the Pango Network (https://pango.network), an international team of experts organized to oversee the coordinated identification and naming of different lineages of SARS-CoV-2 virus. This is the same team behind the widely used virus names such as B.1.1.7 and P.1. 

UCSC Genome Browser’s Senior Software Architect Angie Hinrichs is part of the new International SARS-CoV-2 Lineage Designation Committee, which formalizes rules for assigning SARS-CoV-2 lineages used at cov-lineages.org. 

The lineages and their names are decided by a small team made up of experts from around the world who analyze virus genomic information and make a judgement about whether a new lineage is warranted. 

The coordination of this work is part of an ongoing effort among researchers worldwide to harness pandemic-inspired international scientific collaboration and keep pace with virus transmission and evolution.

The new website describes and explains the nomenclature system and the network, a resource for scientists, public health specialists, journalists, and other stakeholders worldwide who need to communicate clearly about the different genetic types and variants of SARS-CoV-2 in the ongoing effort to control the virus.