SARS-CoV-2 is a syncytial virus

The word I was trying to remember about how SARS-CoV-2 does much of its damage is syncytia (plural of syncytium). I wasn't even in the ballpark on pronunciation:


syncytia: sin-sish'-uh
syncytium: sin-sish'-uhm

Conceptions in progress:

Syncytia are formed when individual cells fuse. SARS-CoV-2 induces syncytia when the viral spike (S) protein on the surface of an infected cell interacts with receptors on neighboring cells. Syncytia may potentially contribute to pathology by facilitating viral dissemination, cytopathicity, immune evasion, and inflammatory response. [1]

Syncytia can also form when cells are infected with certain types of viruses, notably HSV-1, HIV, MeV, SARS-CoV-2, and pneumoviruses, e.g. respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). ... Because many cells fuse together, syncytia are also known as multinucleated cells, giant cells, or polykaryocytes. [2]