The World Health Organisation has declared the new SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.529 as a “variant of concern”. It has been named Omicron and its first incidence was reported to WHO from South Africa on November 24.

Around December 2, several social media users shared an alleged movie poster with the title ‘The Omicron Variant’. Bollywood director Ram Gopal Verma also shared the poster.

Actor Gautam Rode and Christian-conservative Carmine Sabia also shared it.

There is another alleged poster for the movie with the same title. US-based Twitter user Christopher Miller posted it, gathering over 1,000 retweets.

Image verification

Readers should note that there is no movie titled ‘The Omicron Variant’. However, there is a 1963 science fiction movie titled ‘Omicron’. The movie’s plot on Internet Movie Database (IMDb) states, “An alien takes over the body of an Earthman in order to learn about the planet so his race can take it over.”

Image 1: The poster shared by Ram Gopal Verma was made by writer Becky Cheatle from Virgin Media Ireland. She posted three images and wrote, “I Photoshopped the phrase “The Omicron Variant” into a bunch of 70s sci-fi movie posters #Omicron”.

The poster made by Chatetle is based on a 1974 movie called ‘Phase IV.’ The plot on IMDb states, “Desert ants suddenly form a collective intelligence and begin to wage war on the inhabitants. It is up to two scientists and a stray girl they rescue from the ants to destroy them.” In the following image comparison, readers should notice the identical hand and names of cast members on the posters.

Image 2: This poster shared by Miller, just like the first image, is based on another movie — the 1966 film ‘Cyborg 2087’.

To sum it up, several social media users have posted fictional movie posters with the false claim that the movie ‘The Omicron Variant’ predicted the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 in the 1960s.

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About the Author

He joined as an intern in 2019. Until June 2022, his work primarily focused on fact-checking. Now his primary responsibilities include catalysing all aspects of organisational growth — from fundraising to development of new projects at Alt News. He attended the Asian College of Journalism (2015-16) and The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (2012-2015). In past, he worked at The Hindu and Zee Media's WION.
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