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What is Deltacron?
This kind of virus, which is sometimes called a recombinant virus due to the fact that it contains elements from both a Delta and a Micron variant – the combination of both variants provides what is called a recombinant virus.
Professor Lawrence Young, a virologist at the University of Warwick, explains the mechanisms for how these recombinants form when two variations of a virus infect the same person and replicate in the same cells. Essentially, Deltacron is a product of two unique circulating variants, one of which is the Delta variant and the other is Omicron.”
On Tuesday, Gisaid, a global community of scientists who share virus information, posted that the Pasteur Institute in France had shared the first solid evidence that this New Covid Variant, has been available for quite some time.
Where has this New Covid Variant been found?
In a statement released by Gisaid, the New Covid Variant, has been identified in several regions of France and has appeared in the country since at least the beginning of the year. In addition to Denmark and the Netherlands, Gisaid says genomes with a similar profile have also been identified in the United States.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) reports that about 30 cases of Deltacron have been detected in the UK, and there have been reports of Deltacron being detected in the US. It is expected that the first cases of transmission of Deltacron, from one person to another in the UK, will be confirmed this week, according to the newspaper.
At the Institut Pasteur, Dr Etienne Simon-Loriere warned against the possibility that several different recombinant viruses might be formed through the combination of Delta and Omicron.
We see the same virus in France and the Netherlands and it might indeed be the same recombinant virus (derived from the same parental virus) that has travelled across the ocean, he said. According to the expert, the reported Delta-Omicron recombinants from countries including the United Kingdom and the United States, however, appear to combine different parts from their respective parent viruses, and therefore differ from the Deltacron found in France.
In the future, we may need a new name for these recombinant proteins, or we may need to start adding a number to identify them as recombinant.
Should we be concerned about New Covid Variant,?
In recent years, experts have been quick to point out that recombinant variants are not uncommon, and that Deltacron is not the first or the last of such phenomena that could occur for Covid.
According to Dr Jeffrey Barrett, who was the academic director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute’s Covid-19 genomics initiative, this occurs whenever we have a changeover period from one dominant variant to another and is usually a matter of curiosity, but not more, says Barrett.
Having only identified a small number of cases of Deltacron so far, there is not enough information to determine the severity of the New Covid Variant, or whether vaccines are able to protect against it.
As the World Health Organization‘s chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, tweeted on Tuesday: “We have known for some time that recombinant events can occur, in humans or animals, with multiple variants of SarScoV2 circulating.”. Further experiments are all that will be needed to find out about the properties of this virus. In order to deal with this pandemic, it is imperative that we use sequencing, analytics, and rapid data sharing.”
Young is in agreement. He stresses that it’s very important to keep an eye on the behaviour of this recombinant in terms of its transmission potential and its ability to escape vaccine-induced immunity. According to him, “This further supports the need to remain vigilant in maintaining genetic surveillance.”. Given how rapidly the virus is spreading, especially in populations that aren’t vaccinated or whose vaccine-induced immunity is eroding, it is highly likely that we will see more variants, including those generated through recombination.”.
Nonetheless, this does not mean the New Covid Variant, is a reason to panic: the UKHSA reports that the New Covid Variant, is not exhibiting any growth rate that is alarming.
According to Barrett, so far there has been only a small number of occurrences in the UK, and his research has also shown that it is a very rare phenomenon anywhere in the world with just a few dozen sequences among millions of Omicrons. “At the moment, I don’t believe there’s anything to be concerned about, but I’m sure it will be monitored in the future.”
Vaccinations against Delta and Omicron in the past, as well as previous waves of this New Covid Variant,, suggest that most people will be protected at least in part against this crop.