The Claim and Our Verdict
- The claim: A Facebook post published Jan. 2, 2021, claims that Flurona is a new variant of coronavirus.
- The term Flurona was used in an article published Dec. 16, 2020, by the Israeli Association of Public Health Physicians. It is used to describe a simultaneous infection of the flu and of the coronavirus.
- In an email to HKBU Fact Check, the World Health Organization (WHO) wrote that Flurona is not an officially recommended term for a coronavirus variant. The WHO has recommended using letters in the Greek alphabet to name coronavirus variants. Flurona is not a letter in the Greek alphabet.
- Studies documenting co-infections of influenza and the coronavirus were published as early as March 2020.
- Our ruling: We rate the claim as FALSE.
A Facebook post published Jan. 2, 2022, claims Flurona is a new coronavirus variant discovered worldwide after the Delta and Omicron variants.
As of the issuance of this report, the post had been shared nine times, and had received 15 comments and 33 likes or reactions.
The term Flurona was used in an article published Dec. 16, 2020, by the Israeli Association of Public Health Physicians. The article claims that this term is used to describe a simultaneous infection of the flu and of the coronavirus, rather than a new coronavirus variant.
A representative with the World Health Organization (WHO) wrote to HKBU Fact Check via email that Flurona is not an officially recommended term for a coronavirus variant. “Individuals are often infected with multiple pathogens that cocirculate in the community. As more people are getting tested, multiple pathogens may be detected. This does not, however, necessarily lead to the emergence of a new disease entity (“flurona”, as reported) when influenza and SARS-CoV-2 co-infect the same individual,” the WHO representative wrote in the email. SARS-CoV-2 is the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
This webpage from the WHO provides more information for naming coronavirus variants, recommending using letters of the Greek alphabet. Flurona is not a letter in the Greek alphabet. The current coronavirus variants of concern are Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Omicron. This webpage documents all SARS-CoV-2 variants. No record about Flurona was found on the webpage.
In the email to HKBU Fact Check, the WHO added, “Case reports/studies documenting co-infection with influenza and COVID-19 were published as early as March 2020. Based on recent studies, the prevalence of co-infection with COVID-19 and influenza remains relatively low. More evidence is required to better understand the interactions between the two viruses and if the severity of illness is higher when influenza and SARS-CoV-2 viruses co-infect, especially in high-risk individuals and older people.”
Therefore, we rate the claim as FALSE.
- Facebook post, 8, 2021.
- The Israeli Association of Public Health Physicians, “ שפעת החורף כפול לעומת אשתקד שיעור המתחסנים בישראל נגד,” Dec. 16, 2020.
- World Health Organization, Tracking SARS-CoV-2 variants.
- Frontiers in Medicine, “COVID-19 and Influenza Co-infection: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” June 25, 2021.