New COVID variant: What is deltacron? Is it a major variant?

The World Health Organization said it has identified COVID-19 patients who had a hybrid version of coronavirus that combines the delta and omicron variant – called “deltacron,” according to Reuters.

What’s happening: A new study posted on Tuesday on medRxiv found that 17 patients in the United States and Europe have COVID-19 variants that mix delta and omicron.

  • Three of the patients had a version of COVID-19 that had the spike protein from omicron with the “body” of the delta variant, according to the study, which was done by the research company Helix, which works with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What they’re saying: “During the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, two or more variants have co-circulated during the same periods of time and in the same geographical areas. … This created opportunities for recombination between these two variants, ”said Philippe Colson of IHU Mediterranee Infection in Marseille, France, the lead author of the study.

However: “Because there have been so few confirmed cases, it is too soon to know whether deltacron infections will be very transmissible or cause severe disease,” Reuters reports.

Flashback: Back in January, scientists in the country of Cyprus said they had discovered a COVID-19 variant that combined the omicron and delta variants, per Bloomberg News.

  • The variant – which had “omicron-like genetic signatures within the delta genomes,” according to CNBC – was called “deltacron,” as I reported for the Deseret News.

Yes, but: Biologist Eric Topol of the Scripps Research Translational Institute said at the time that deltacron might be a “scariant” born out of error and not a real variant.

  • “New subtype of scariant that is not even a real variant but scares a lot of people, unnecessarily,” he tweeted.

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