Has a new variant emerged? Researchers have discovered a possible COVID-19 strain that appears to combine both the Delta and Omicron variants, called “Deltacron.” Although scientists told Bloomberg News the variant is real, experts have been quick to dismiss those claims instead blaming the finding on contamination. Real or not, here’s what you need to know about a potential “Deltacron” variant.
Scientists in Cyprus found 25 people carrying the strain, according to Bloomberg News, and sent their research to an international database that tracks the genetic code of the virus.
Experts have doubts that the variant is real
Despite those claims Global health experts have doubts over the reports. They instead believe that the “strain” is the result of a lab processing error.
“Okay people let’s make this a teachable moment, there is no such thing as #Deltacron,” the infectious diseases physician wrote. “#Omicron and #Delta did NOT form a super variant. This is likely sequencing artifact (lab contamination of Omicron fragments in a Delta specimen),” Dr. Krutika Kuppalli, an infectious disease expert at the World Health Organization says.
Dr. Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College, also believes the findings are “quite clearly contamination” and don’t meet the criteria to be considered a new variant.
“The Cypriot ‘Deltacron’ sequences reported by several large media outlets look to be quite clearly contamination — they do not cluster on a phylogenetic tree and have a whole Artic primer sequencing amplicon of Omicron in an otherwise Delta backbone,” he wrote.
“Delta sequences with strange mutations in amplicon 72 have been turning up for ages (for example Delta + Mu NTD insertion) however, they always show this non-monophyletic pattern and are nearly always more easily explained by this primer issue exacerbating very low-level contam,” he adds.
“It’s much too early for us to tell yet whether the Deltacron is going to be a real threat or not, “Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Chief of Infectious Disease Dr. Daniel Kuritzkes told NBC10 Boston Monday. “We know that people can get infected with a mixture of different