The UK has identified a Deltacron variant of COVID-19 which appears to be a mix between Delta and Omicron. Deltacron, a combination of two highly-infectious strains, is now being tracked by the UK Health Security Agency, but it is still unclear how it got into the country. According to British media reports, the UKHSA is tracking the strain and more information regarding Deltacron is yet to be determined.
Researchers identified a new strain of Coronavirus last month that combined at least 10 mutations from the Delta and Omicron varieties. The ‘Deltacron’ strain was found in patients hospitalized for Coronavirus in Cyprus. Deltacron emerges at a time when the world is already under the grip of the Omicron strain.
What do we know about Deltacron?
The new strain of COVID-19, Deltacron, was found in Cyprus, according to Leondios Kostrikis, professor of biological sciences and director of the Laboratory of Biotechnology and Molecular Virology, University of Cyprus. Kostrikis told Bloomberg that there is currently a co-infection of Omicron and Delta, and the new strain is the combination of both. According to him, the new coronavirus strain was named ‘Deltacron’ because of the identification of Omicron-like genetic signatures in delta genomes.
The team of biological scientists at the University of Cyprus informed that Deltacron has genetic signatures similar to those of Omicron within the delta genomes. According to health experts, the new variant does not necessarily warrant concern, especially since researchers do not yet know whether it is more contagious or pathological, or if it will persist. Deltacron has been detected in 25 cases so far, of which 11 have been reported from hospitalized patients, while the other 14 were reported from the general public.
Because Deltacron was discovered only two days ago, there is still a lot of debate about whether it is actually a new variant. It has been suggested, however, that the new strains may have come through the sequencing lab and contamination isn’t that uncommon, since very very tiny amounts of liquid can cause this. Thus, Deltacron may not pose a serious threat.
A few experts have even opined that the Deltacron variant is not a true strain of SARS-CoV-2
at all. Prof Kostrikis believes the new strain of the virus, which has not been reported from anywhere else in the world, maybe less dominant than the Omicron variant. For now, the sequences of the cases have been sent to GISAID, a database that tracks Coronavirus developments, the Cyprus Mail reported. Hadjipandelas told Cyprus Mail that the scientific name of the variant has not been released yet and that more details will be revealed at a press conference scheduled for the beginning of the coming week.