After Delta and Omicron variants of the novel coronavirus, a new coronavirus strain Deltacron – a combination of Delta and Omicron — has been found in Cyprus. Ten of the mutations from Omicron were found in the 25 samples taken in Cyprus – 11 of the samples came from people who were hospitalised due to the virus while 14 came from the general population.
“There are currently Omicron and Delta co-infections and we found this strain that is a combination of these two. The discovery was named Deltacron due to the identification of Omicron-like genetic signatures within the Delta genome,” Head of laboratory of biotechnology and molecular virology at the University of Cyprus Dr Leondios Kostrikis said.
- Ten of the mutations from Omicron were found in the 25 samples taken in Cyprus – 11 of the samples came from people who were hospitalised due to the virus while 14 came from the general population.
- Scientific name of this variant has not yet been announced.
- Head of laboratory of biotechnology and molecular virology at the University of Cyprus Dr Leondios Kostrikis said the frequency of mutation among hospitalised patients was higher and could hint at a correlation between the new variant and hospitalisations.
- Dr Kostrikis emphasised that this variant has a genetic background similar to Delta variant and some mutations from Omicron.
- Cypriot Health Minister Michalis Hadjipandelas said that the new variant was nothing to worry about at the moment while expressing pride in the new variant’s discovery.
- Experts like Eric Topol, Sunit K Singh and Tom Peacock took to their Twitter handles to allay any sort of fears about the variant.
- While Topol called Deltacron a ‘scariant’ and said it is one less thing to bother about, Peacock said that the Cypriot Deltacron sequences reported widely look like contamination.
- Peacock further explained that these reports are contamination as they don’t “cluster on a phylogenetic tree and have a whole Artic primer sequencing amplicon of Omicron in an otherwise Delta backbone.”
- “It is the nature of an RNA virus such as SARS-CoV-2 especially of a respiratory nature, to mutate. While we may find many mutations, its recombinant forms need to be processed. In public health, not every mutation is alarming,” virologist and professor at Institute of Medical Sciences at Banaras Hindu University Sunit K Singh.
(With agency inputs)