Does This Document Show Future COVID-19 Variants?

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This tweet claims to show scheduled COVID-19 variants to allegedly be experienced between June 2021 and February 2023.

Another tweet contains the same image of a document claimed to show variants that would supposedly be released to the public, on listed dates.

Background

So far, the documented COVID-19 variants have been; Alpha, Gamma, Beta and, Delta. These, according to the World Health Organization, are classified as variants of concern. 

The Centre for Disease Control says, the Delta variant spreads faster and causes more infections than earlier variants. Such variants might require one or more public health actions. In addition, based on the characteristics of this variant, additional considerations may include the development of new diagnostics or modification of vaccines or treatments.

Verification

A report by Aljazeera indicates that the first Delta variant was reported in India in October 2020. By June 1, it had spread to 62 countries.  However, the document shared on Twitter claims that the Delta variant would be released in June 2021. In addition to the four variants listed as variants of concern, WHO has listed four other variants of interest. Unlike what this document claims, Eta, Iota, Kappa and Lambda were first experienced between October and December 2020.

Also, from the Twitter claims, assumptions have been made that these variants are created and ‘released’ to the public. However, according to BBC, mutations occur naturally in viruses and COVID-19 is no exception. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been thousands of these mutations.

In an email to Reuters, Peter Vanham, Head of Communications at the World Economic Forum, disputed these claims saying, “This is a fake document and has nothing to do with the World Economic Forum.

Additionally, according to the World Health Organization, the more opportunities a virus has to spread, the more chances it has to replicate. This answers why the COVID-19 keeps replicating into new variants. However, most viral mutations have little to no impact on the virus’ ability to cause infections and disease. Depending on where the changes are located in the virus’ genetic material, they may affect the virus’ transmission or severity.

Verdict

This document showing future expected COVID-19 variants is FAKE.

This story was produced by Africa Uncensored in partnership with Code for Africa with support from Deutsche Welle Akademie.

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Nyakerario Omari

Nyakerario J. Omari is a Kenyan writer and journalist with a passion for in-depth stories told through documentaries. She has an interest in reporting matters concerning health, crime and human rights.