Recently, the term ‘Covid-22’ had went viral on the Internet after an associate professor from university ETH Zurich commented on the vaccination programme and the emergence of the new and more contagious variants of Covid-19.
The term was interpreted another variant over the horizon next year by netizens, but it was actually a poorly-worded phrase to refer to the state of the coronavirus outbreak in 2022.
The term ‘Covid-22’ came about when Professor Sai Reddy, an associate professor from university ETH Zurich, commented “The Delta variant is much more contagious. This is no longer COVID-19. I would call it COVID-21.” during an interview about the pandemic with Blick, a Swiss German-language newspaper.
He later comment on the development of the pandemic as he expects the Beta, Gamma or Delta variant to mutate over the time.
“Is the next phase of the pandemic when Beta or Gamma become more infectious or Delta develops escape mutations?” he said.
“That will be the big problem for the coming year. COVID-22 could get worse than what we are witnessing now.”
His comments were then made as headlines by Blick as they gave their interview a flashy title of “Covid-22 could get worse.”
Meanwhile, the term Covid-19 was given following the start of the pandemic by a novel coronavirus in 2019.
However, people thought Professor Reddy was suggesting there would be another strain next year which is more deadly than the highly contagious Delta variant. However, he was actually talking about how SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19, presents in 2022.
On the other hand, Professor Lawrence Young, a virologist at the University of Warwick, commented that Covid-22 is scaremongering and extremely speculative.
“The likelihood of a ‘super variant’ emerging next year as a consequence of the combination of existing strains is highly unlikely.”
“That’s not to say that we should be complacent about the generation of new variants – we’ve learnt the hard way about the impact of the Alpha and Delta variants.”
“The best way to stop any variants from developing is to stop the virus infecting people and spreading and that’s where vaccination comes in. We urgently need to get the world vaccinated.”
Since the term ‘Covid-22’ when viral, Professor Reddy clarified that there had been some confusion as to what he was referring to in his interview with Blick. He said that it is not accurate to call it Covid-22, as the official and correct name of the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 is Covid-19.
“To make it clear my statement meant to convey that I believe Covid in 2022, particularly the early part of the year (January – March) has a chance to be worse than this year, Covid in 2021.”
“The full context for why I believe this is based on the following factors: (i) emergence of the Delta variant that shows enhanced transmission, (ii) potential emergence and spread of variants that have mutations in the spike protein that may lead to escape from certain classes of neutralising antibodies, (iii) a substantial fraction of unvaccinated people in Switzerland (and other parts of Europe), (iv) loosening of restrictions that make transmission of the virus easier (e.g., indoor dining, events, concerts).”
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