Health

Misleading name for future COVID-19 phase goes viral

  • Rumors have reportedly spread on social media of a potential future virus called Covid-22.
  • The term originated from misinterpreted comments from an immunologist that circulated on Twitter.
  • The biology professor said the name of the Covid-22 variant was confusing.

A misleading rumor circulated on social media this week about a potential future virus called Covid-22.

Although the phrase no longer appears in the Trends tab on Twitter as of Wednesday, Forbes reported that “Covid-22” is gaining popularity in the US, and more than 58,000 tweets were posted Monday afternoon. One Twitter user shared an alleged Screenshot from the moment the trending hashtag was seen.

A Twitter spokesperson told Insider that the platform “prevents [‘Covid-22’] the phrase “from showing in Trends by platform politics

Forbes and other agencies have traced this term to Cy Reddy, Swiss immunologist and professor at ETH Zürich in Zurich, Switzerland. In a Sunday article in German Swiss newspaper BlickReddy appears to have used “Covid-22” to discuss the potential future of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The next phase of the pandemic, when beta or gamma becomes more infectious or delta develops,” will be a major problem, Reddy said in an article that Insider translated from German to English. “Covid-22 could be even worse than what we are experiencing now,” he said.

Reddy’s quotes soon spread online and many people misinterpreted the comment and raised concerns about new variant of coronavirus… Some feared that it might be more dangerous than Delta variantwhich is currently the predominant variant of the coronavirus in the United States.

It turned out that Reddy in a broader sense was referring to the next wave of the pandemic. According to Davidson College biology professor Dave Wessner, suggesting other names for the coronavirus and its variants will only confuse people.

Viral Tweet Spreads Comments on Swiss Article

The main source of outrage on Twitter was a viral tweet from a news site. Insider newspaper (not affiliated with Insider), who posted an article about Reddy’s remarks and tweeted about it Monday afternoon.

“WARNING: A new supervariant called ‘Covid-22’ could be more dangerous than the Delta strain,” the expert warned, “Insider Paper wrote in a tweet that garnered over 13,000 likes and 30,000 retweets, with thousands of people expressing confusion and fear. comment section.

According to Google Trends, global search interest for the phrase “Covid-22” surged on Monday afternoon, and “Cy Reddy” became one of the top related searches.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the most popular tweets with the hashtag “# COVID22” were people sharing memes and responding to the term trending.

The term doesn’t match what we call options

Calling the Covid-22 variant doesn’t make sense on several levels, Wessner said.

“It doesn’t accurately reflect biology, and I think the introduction of such new names just confuses the general public more than anything else,” Wessner told Insider.

COVID-19 is the name of the disease caused by the new coronavirus, not the virus itself (which called SARS-CoV-2). Some variants of the new coronavirus are named with Greek letters, such as delta and lambda. according to the plan developed by the World Health Organization

With each new variant, the disease did not change for something new, and the fundamental biology of the virus did not change, Wessner explained, so it would be pointless to call the variant “Covid-22.” This would reflect a different disease.

Even when variants like Delta appear, with mutations that make them more transferable or potentially vaccine resistant, they can still be recognized as SARS-CoV-2 species.

Reddy, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, clarified his comments in an interview. Newsweek.

“I certainly agree that the correct and correct use of the term for the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 is COVID-19. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that using the term “COVID-21” or “COVID-22” would “lead to such a reaction,” he said.

“I wanted to say that as SARS-CoV-2 literally develops, our thinking about how to respond and deal with a pandemic should also evolve,” he told the publication.




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