Spotlight on 2018 K-drama foreshadowing Covid-19 outbreak

A scene from a dialogue in Korean drama ‘My Secret Terrius’ in which a doctor discusses the ‘mutant coronavirus’ with an NIS agent.

PETALING JAYA: A Korean drama being streamed on Netflix has been gaining attention for appearing to predict the Covid-19 crisis more than a year before the outbreak even began.

The 2018 drama titled “My Secret Terrius” even foretold the 14-day quarantine period for patients with the virus.

A clip from the TV programme depicts a man telling his wife to stay at home with their child before switching scenes to a doctor informing a National Intelligence Service (NIS) agent about a “mutant coronavirus”.

Doctor: We must do more research, but it looks like a mutant coronavirus.

NIS agent: Corona? Then MERS?

Doctor: MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), the common flu – they all fall in the same family with the same genetic information. The coronavirus attacks the respiratory system. During the 2015 MERS epidemic, the mortality rate was over 20%.

NIS agent: But that’s not serious enough to be used as a weapon. Am I wrong?

Doctor: Like I’ve said, this is a mutant virus. Someone tweaked it to increase the mortality rate to almost 90%.

NIS agent: 90%?

Doctor: What’s more serious is that the coronavirus has an incubation period of two to 14 days. The virus was manipulated to attack the lungs directly within just five minutes of being exposed.

The show revolves around a woman who, with her NIS agent neighbour, uncovers a major conspiracy in which her late husband was involved before his death.

It stars So Ji-Sub, Jung In-sun, Son Ho-jun and Im Se-mi.

The virus was classified as Covid-19 by the World Health Organization earlier this year. The name stands for coronavirus disease 2019.

Malaysia has so far recorded 2,031 confirmed cases and 24 deaths from the virus.

Several “fact-check” articles online have however dismissed the claim that the references in the drama series were related to the current pandemic.

“There are several different kinds of coronaviruses in existence, out of which 7 affect humans. The show seems to be referring to a fictional variant,” said one report.

Another report on said an infected patient does not die in five minutes.

“Even though a substantial amount of deaths have been registered across the globe, the patients are also getting cured with proper treatment and health safety measures.

“Hence, the ‘coronavirus details’ shown in the video should not be taken for what it is for it is a pure work of fiction.”