A new strain of Covid-19, dubbed as “Deltacron“, has been discovered in Cyprus combining the traits of both the Delta variant and the Omicron Covid variant.
Deltacron has been trending online, with several experts opining that it is not a real variant of Covid-19. This occurs at the same time the world is gripped by Omicron, a new strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
A virologist, Tom Peacock, suggested on social media that Deltacron might be contaminated, rather than an actual variant.
In other words, contamination isn’t all that uncommon when new variants pass through sequencing labs (very, very small volumes of liquid can cause contamination) – but usually these fairly clearly contaminated sequences aren’t reported by major news organizations.
Recombinants are certainly worth keeping an eye on and almost certainly will be found, but this particular example is almost definitely contamination, he wrote.
Scientist Eric Topol described Deltacron as a ‘scariant’ instead of a variant. A new type of ‘scarient‘ that isn’t even a real variant but scares a lot of people unnecessarily, he said.
Deltacron is not an official name. University of Cyprus professor Leondios Kostrikis called the strain ”Deltacron”.
The strain is called “deltacron” because it possesses omicron-like genetic signatures in the delta genome, Kostrikis said in an interview with Sigma TV Friday.
According to statistics, Kostrikis and his team identified 25 cases of combined infection, and those hospitalized because of Covid-19 had a higher relative frequency than patients who were not hospitalized because of it.
On Jan. 7, the sequences of the 25 deltacron cases were sent to GISAID, the international database that tracks changes to the virus.
In the future, we will see if this strain is virulent or contagious, or if it prevails over delta and omicron. But his personal view is that this strain will also be displaced by the highly contagious omicron variant.
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