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Twitter struggles to pronounce new coronavirus treatment bamlanivimab

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The world is racing to develop a coronavirus vaccine so we can go outside without people dying, with Pfizer’s recent trial looking particularly promising. In the meantime, U.S. pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly & Co. has developed an experimental antibody that could at least help treat patients exhibiting mild symptoms, preventing them from worsening to the point they need hospitalisation.

Authorised by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the treatment is a hopeful step forward in the ongoing battle against the coronavirus pandemic. This is exciting enough, but what has really caught Twitter’s attention is the medicine’s delightful name: bamlanivimab.

As many on the internet have noted, it looks a lot like a well-known earworm from African-American work song “Black Betty,” popularised through covers by Ram Jam and Spiderbait.

“Black Betty” isn’t the only song the tongue-twisting name has been inserted in. Twitter users have been grappling with bamlanivimab’s complicated appearance, likening it to scat singing, puzzling over its pronunciation, and lamenting at how close it was to a palindrome.

It should be stressed that as fun as bamlanivimab is to say, or attempt to say, it is still not a coronavirus vaccine. We still have a long way to go before one is available, so remember to continue wearing your mask, washing your hands, and keeping your distance from others.

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