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COVID-22: Everything You Need To Know About The 'Deadlier Than Delta' Variant

As experts warn of an imminent third wave of COVID-19 in Sept-Oct in India, new reports regarding a new emerging variant that could appear in 2022 have raised global concern. According to Immunologist Professor Doctor Sai Reddy, the public must be ready for this new variant as it could be a "big risk".

Termed as the COVID-22, this new variant is said to be deadlier than the delta variant, the deadliest COVID variant as of yet [1]. However, you should know that COVID-22 isn't an actual illness but a future possibility only.

COVID-22: Everything You Need To Know

Sai Reddy, an Associate Professor of Systems and Synthetic Immunology at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, is the one who coined the term COVID-22. The WHO or the CDC has not yet officialised it. According to reports, experts have warned that a new variant could emerge in 2022 and could pose a considerable risk.

Here is everything you need to know about the COVID-22 (the points are based on the views of Sai Reddy):

  • COVID-22 could get worse than the COVID-19.
  • There may be a need for more than one vaccination in the next few years due to the emergence of new variants.
  • If the possibility of COVID-22 increases, it is crucial to recognise it as early as possible, and the vaccine manufacturers have to adapt the vaccine quickly.
  • COVID-22 could be a super spreader and contribute to a more severe pandemic.
  • It was also added that the new variant could create an environment where we can no longer rely solely on vaccination.
  • Previously, there were claims from different scientists and health experts that there would be a COVID-21, which is termed the Delta variant [2].

Important note from experts: In order for an actual COVID-22 to emerge, it would need to be significantly different from the original COVID-19 and still be a coronavirus [3].

Why Is There No COVID-20 Or COVID-21?

Because all the different variants that emerged during the COVID pandemic have been from the same lineage or family as the original SARS-CoV-2 [4], the Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma, Lambda, and other variants of concern and interest have all resulted from progressive mutations in the genetic material of the original SARS-CoV-2. So basically, all these variants 'belong' to COVID-19.

Previously, many public health experts had that the pandemic would end by 2022, indicating that it would be similar to the 1918 Flu pandemic that lasted for three years [5]. Also, there are possibilities that even more contagious variants emerge next year in 2022 [6]. That is because as long as the virus keeps reproducing (and spreading), new and more severe variants could appear.

The COVID variants to be concerned with are the Delta and Delta plus variants that are more contagious than the original version of the virus. Mental health experts have advised people not to get exceedingly concerned about a virus variant that is not here. It is still 2021!

On A Final Note...

Doctor Sai Reddy said that it was inevitable for the virus to combine and make a deadlier virus strain, especially with variants like Delta, Beta, and Gamma. Although Dr Reddy's claims regarding COVID-22 is grounded in facts, many health experts have criticised them.

Many asserted that experts simply could not predict what will happen next, especially considering the unpredictable nature of the SARS-CoV-2. The health bodies around the globe can only predict that there will be new variants of COVID-19. Some of these variants may be better or worse - and only with time can this become a fact.

Get Vaccinated. Sanitise. Wash Your Hands. Wear A Mask. Stay Home.

Story first published: Wednesday, August 25, 2021, 14:33 [IST]
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