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Is COVID-22 a Real Disease? Here's Why the Term COVID-22 Went Viral

Medically reviewed by Michael Henry Wanat · Respiratory Therapy

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated May 04, 2022

Is COVID-22 a Real Disease? Here's Why the Term COVID-22 Went Viral

We might not have felt it, but the term “COVID-22″ trended on Twitter the past week and had many people feel both confused and worried. Is COVID-22 a real disease? If you hear or read about COVID-22, here’s what you need to know. 

Is COVID-22 a Real Disease?

First of all, COVID-22 is not a real disease. Apparently, it trended on Twitter because Sai Reddy, Ph.D., a Swiss professor and immunologist, warned about a new variant of COVID-19 that could appear by 2022. He added that this new variant might be a “big risk” to everyone.

Interestingly, Dr. Reddy also referred to the Delta variant as COVID-21 since it’s more contagious he no longer considers it the original COVID-19. 

But is COVID-22 a real disease? 

Experts say it isn’t. In fact, COVID-22 might not even happen at all. Here’s why. 

COVID-22 Isn’t Likely To Happen —Experts

To understand why COVID-22 isn’t likely to happen, we have to look back on how COVID-19 was named. 

COVID is an acronym for COronavirus VIrus  Disease. The 19 at the end signifies the year it was first discovered, which was 2019. 

Since then, different variants have appeared left and right. We had the Alpha, Beta, Delta, Lambda, and Gamma. All of them originated from the original Wuhan strain. In other words, they are still the SARS-CoV-2 virus — only, they underwent significant mutations that gave them unique characteristics. 

It’s possible that what Dr. Reddy said is true: There really could be new variants of concern. After all, medical experts anticipate viral mutations. But should there be another variant, they wouldn’t be called COVID-22. Scientists will likely use another letter in the Greek alphabet, just like Alpha, Beta, and Delta. 

In order for it to be called COVID-22, it has to be significantly different from SARS-CoV-2 but still be coronavirus. 

Dr. Reddy also mentioned something about an “escape variant.” Basically, an escape variant is still SARS-CoV-2, but it’s so different that it escapes recognition from vaccines and acquired immunity. In other words, recovering from the infection and receiving the vaccine may not offer enough protection. 

Some also commented about Dr. Ruddy’s COVID-21, which is the Delta variant. People clarified that the Delta was first identified in India in December of 2020. 

For Some Experts, 2022 Will Be a Great Year

Now that we have shed light on the question, “Is COVID-22 a real disease?”, let’s talk about predictions. 

While there could be a new variant of concern in 2022, many experts still believe it will be a great year. In fact, some even anticipate the end of the pandemic that year. 

The scenario is similar to the 1918 Spanish flu, which panned for three years. 

Living in the Present

Is COVID-22 a real disease? It isn’t. So for many, there’s no point in worrying about it. The best we can do now is protect ourselves from the currently circulating variant, particularly the Delta, since it seems to dominate the country’s infections. 

To protect yourself and your family, strictly follow the health protocols. Practice physical distancing at all times, wear your face mask and face shields, and wash your hands frequently. 

Of course, if you develop signs and symptoms, such as fever, cough, and loss of smell and taste, isolate yourself and follow your municipality’s protocols. 

Finally, when it’s your turn to get the life-saving jab, please take it. If you have doubts about risks and side effects, talk to your doctor about it so that you can ease your worries. 

Key Takeaways

Is COVID-22 a real disease? It isn’t, so it’s best not to worry about it. Instead, let’s do our part in fighting the pandemic by following health protocols and getting vaccinated.

Learn more about Coronavirus here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Michael Henry Wanat

Respiratory Therapy

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated May 04, 2022

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