New Delhi, August 26: COVID-19, the infectious disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, has been able to sustain its grip globally over the past  two years since it was first reported in the end of 2019. Despite immunisation drives, the virus continues to spread and infect thousands of people daily. The coronavirus also continues of mutate with newer strains, such as Alpha, Beta, Lambda Delta, Delta Plus, surfacing from time to time. While researches are still in process to give a convincing origin story to COVID-19, social media is worried about COVID-22.

The term 'COVID-22' is doing rounds on digital platform with users expressing their worries, helplessness and mostly confusion about it. Unlike COVID-19's origin, the beginning of COVID-22 can be traced back to an interview by an associate professor of Systems and Synthetic Immunology at the university ETH Zurich to a Swiss German Newspaper 'Blick.' Prof Sai Reddy while commenting on the mutations of the coronavirus used the phrase 'COVID-22 could get worse.'  Since then the term has been doing rounds of social media, and creating several misconceptions. Coronavirus Latest Myth Busters: From Whether Spraying Alcohol or Chlorine Works to Effect of Hot And Humid Climate on COVID-19, WHO Answers Key Questions.

While taking about the vaccination programme and surfacing of 'Delta variant,' Prof Reddy reportedly said, "This is no longer COVID-19. I would call it COVID-21."He reportedly added that the next phase of the ongoing pandemic 'could' see the variants becoming more infectious or develop more mutation and added in the same "That will be the big problem for the coming year. COVID-22 could get worse than what we are witnessing now." He basically talked about a 'possibility' that 'could' arise with coronavirus infection in the year 2022 and hence termed it COVID-22. Deconstructing Black Fungus: Experts Talk About Myths, Misconceptions Around the Disease.

Clarifying this comments on 'COVID-22' that has created much stir on the social media, Prof Sai Reddy told the UK based I News "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." He further added "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."

As per the WHO data 213,050,725 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported globally so far. Several countries are gearing up for yet another wave of COVID-19, while others are struggling to curtail the initial spread. The pandemic has created a social-media panic as well, with users posting, sharing and believing anything and everything that pop up in a #COVID19 search. With the panic mode on, the term 'COVID-22' successfully created much stir and spread misconceptions.


(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Aug 26, 2021 12:49 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website