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.
I named the drug bamlanivimab and I worked really hard on the name. It’s my first time naming a drug, so please be nice to me!
— Gabe Delahaye (@gabedelahaye) November 10, 2020
the B in LBGTQ stands for bamlanivimab
— Bec Shaw (@Brocklesnitch) November 10, 2020
who put the bam in the bamlanivimab, who put the ram in the rama-lama-ding-dong
— El Chico Del Apartamento 1312 (@StolenVelour_) November 10, 2020
if you’re lost you can look and you will find me
— hingo (@hingo) November 10, 2020
What if it’s only low-cost if you can pronounce bamlanivimab
— Maris Kreizman (@mariskreizman) November 10, 2020
Bamlanivimab was my father’s name, you bastards
— Emma Berquist (@eeberquist) November 10, 2020
the only thing about bamlanivimab is if it saves your life you must name your firstborn son bamlanivimab or every full moon he will turn into a crow. scientists are working on this
— Sarah Lazarus (@sarahclazarus) November 10, 2020
they could have at least made it a palindrome but no. Bamlanivimab. like a doo wop song gone wrong
— 💥𝚍𝚘𝚍𝚊𝚒 𝚜𝚝𝚎𝚠𝚊𝚛𝚝💥 (@dodaistewart) November 10, 2020
side effects of bamlanivimab may include rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong, and in rare cases shoo-bop sha wadda wadda yippity boom de boom
— Duncan Carson (@aduncancarson) November 10, 2020
dentist: so how have you been?
me in the dentist chair mid-cleaning: bamlanivimab
— jamie 2.0 (@serbzs) November 10, 2020
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.