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January 2022

The Frat Effect: New COVID Variants Form Exclusive Super-Groups based on Communal Values and Characteristics

Date: December 10th, 2024

As the 4th year of the COVID pandemic draws to a close, researchers at the University of Mississippi have published a new review regarding recent information about the virus’s evolution.

Over the past however-many years, we have seen, spread, and sequestered ourselves from what may feel like an infinite number of COVID variants. From the first Alpha variant appearing in the U.K. in November 2020; to the Omicron season at the start of 2022 that closed down schools for weeks; to even the Nu variant from the summer of 2024 that now seems pretty old.

Typically, when viruses reproduce, they undergo small changes called mutations to better suit their environments. This is the essence of natural selection, a more euphemistic way of describing microbiological capitalism. “What we’re seeing with COVID is a process quite unlike the Darwinian norm,” says Dr. Anthony Fauci, who did not contribute to the study but still found a way to speak on the researchers’ behalf and claim first authorship.

At the core of their findings, high-risk strains like Psi, Delta, Beta, and many others have formed these sort of super-groups through DNA recombination, a process where two or more viruses pair up and exchange parts of their genomes within a human or animal body. This has led to notorious variants Alpha Kappa Alpha or Delta Delta Delta, which had been infamously traced to a Delta faucet touched by three Delta-infected women who all happened to work at Delta airlines.

“But here’s the kicker,” Fauci continues, “These super-groups do not make copies of themselves. Instead, it seems as though newer viruses from more common strains are intentionally mutating to fit the genomes of these super-groups. And they’re doing so at a pace that’s up to 100 times faster than COVID’s usual rate of mutation. In effect, it seems as though these viruses are literally rushing to evolve their full potential.”

This phenomenon was fittingly coined as “Frat Effect,” and it serves as a double or even triple-entendre. For one, these special strains almost exclusively infect individuals between the ages of 18-25. But most notably, the strength in these so-called super-groups does not lie in the sheer numbers they can infect, but the specific types of people they target. For example, the Alpha Epsilon Pi strain has had the most prevalence among adolescents of Jewish descent; the Phi Beta Kappa strain among Honor-Roll candidates; and Sigma Alpha Epsilon among registered sex offenders. Thus, not only do COVID variants themselves seem to form these RNA-based sorority/fraternity-esque cliques, but the people these cliques affect bear uncanny resemblance to the common profiles of the collegiate Greek Life institution under the same name.

“They tell me it’s an honor to be in these super-groups,” says popular Alternative Medicine specialist Dr. Gavin Bouchard, who is notorious for treating his patients with life-threatening infectious diseases by having them “talk to their viruses,” a skill he has apparently mastered through his unique diet of expired milk. “These lesser Omicrons and Kappas and Rhos have the potential to bond, to be something greater, a chance at power, a chance to reap the benefits of brotherhood,” he adds with an emphatic, malnutrition-induced fervor before fainting on the spot.

The Ole Miss team plans to continue studying the Frat Effect through generous grants from the CDC, NSF, and the Tau Kappa Epsilon Alumni association. Hopefully, in doing so, the scientists can help make the details of this fascinating phenomenon a bit less – hazy.

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