While a virus outbreak with origins in China’s Wuhan city walks out into the world in 2020, a character in Asterix comic in 2017 was actually named Coronavirus.
Asterix, the Gaul from the French comic comes face to face with Coronavirus, a masked villain with a reputation of stopping at nothing to win.
In the 37th edition of the ''Asterix and the Chariot Race,'' launched in 2017, Asterix fights his way across Italy in a chariot race against the Romans.
Written by Thibaut Deleaz, a picture of the edition displays ‘the Masked Auriga, the great coronavirus being introduced.
"Here comes our favourite, straight from Rome! The Champion with MCDL XII victories! The one they call the ''The Masked Augira'', the great coronavirus, and his faithful bacillus," it says.
The original book ''Asterix et la Transitalique'' was released over two years before Wuhan reported its first case of coronavirus in December last year.
Written by Jean-Yves Ferri and sketched by Didier Conrad the comic shows Asterix and Obelix take part in a chariot race across Italy organised by senator Caesar. They have to compete with the villain called Coronavirus and his sidekick Bacillus. Bacillus is the Latin term for bacteria.
It is interesting to bare in mind that Coronavirus the masked villain in the end failed to win.
In the meantime, while the epidemic is recent, the term coronavirus is not.