The recombinant variant Deltacron, composed of 2 highly transmissible COVID variants Delta & Omicron, has been validated by the global community of scientists, The Guardian reported.
The variant was first reported earlier this year by researchers at the University of Cyprus and has been the subject of much scientific debate during this time. Many scholars had dismissed the possibility that the 2 variants managed to combine in a way that still held signatures of their past. Instead, critics had called the finding a result of lab contamination.
As with all newly found variants, sequences of Deltacron variant were also submitted to Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID), a non-profit organization founded in 2008 to share genomic information on the evolution of epidemics around the world. During the pandemic, the organization has become the global repository about variant development information.
Confirmation of the Deltacron variant came from data that was presented to the organization by the Pasteur Institut in France, where the variant began circulating earlier this year and has also been found in countries including Denmark & Netherlands.
In addition to these countries, the variant has also been reported in United States & United Kingdom. However, the recombinant variants observed in these countries are quite different from the variant observed in France, although the source material for the re-combination is probably the same, Dr Etienne Simon Loriere of Pasteur Institut told the Guardian.
Is this a cause of worry?
Recombination of viruses and their variants is a completely natural thing, especially when an individual’s cells are infected with more than one strain of the virus. Last year, we reported the case of a 90-year-old woman who contracted both the alpha & beta variants of COVID at the same time.
Given the peak of COVID infections arriving in 2022, it is not surprising that recombinants have developed. The World Health Organization’s chief scientist tweeted:
At this time, the number of cases of the Deltacron variant is not high enough to cause concern or provide enough data to help identify the variant during an active infection. The specific symptoms due to variant Deltacron infection are not well known and the risks of Deltacron are unlikely to be higher for those who have been vaccinated.
This tells us that the coronavirus continues to find new ways of spreading and the pandemic is not over yet.