Scientists report new hybrid of Omicron & Delta variant in several countries

The new recombinant variant is called 'Deltacron'.

Lean Jinghui | March 12, 2022, 12:44 PM

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A new hybrid Omicron and Delta Covid-19 variant has been reported in various European countries.

According to the New York Times, it has been dubbed "Deltamicron" or "Deltacron", in light of its recombinant nature – in other words, that it contains genes from both variants.

Solid evidence for the Deltacron variant has been shared by Institut Pasteur via GISAID, an international database of Covid-19 genomes.

Where it has been found

According to the Guardian, the variant has been identified in several regions of France, as well as Denmark and the Netherlands.

There have also been reports of Deltacron being detected in the U.S., and according to the UK Health Security Agency, about 30 cases have been detected in the UK.

It is believed that the variant has been circulating since the start of the year, in early January.

Etienne Simon-Loriere of the Institut Pasteur shared with the Guardian that there could actually be several different recombinant viruses formed from Delta and Omicron so far.

This is because the Deltacron recombinants reported in countries like the U.K. and the U.S. appear to differ from the Deltacron variant seen in France and the Netherlands.

Cause for concern?

However, according to the experts, there is no need to panic yet.

“This is not a novel concern,” Simon-Loriere said.

According to the experts, recombinant variants are not uncommon. The Deltacron is not the first and will not be the last recombinant variant to exist.

In addition, the virus has not yet shown the potential to grow exponentially.

As Deltacron cases are relatively rare, there is not yet enough data about the severity of the variant, or how effectively vaccines will protect against it.

Simon-Loriere shared that the genome of the recombinant variant has also suggested that it will not represent a new phase of the pandemic.

He added that the surface of the virus appears to be similar to Omicron, although the rest of the genome is Delta, so the body might still recognise the Deltacron variant like it recognises the Omicron variant.

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