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Cyprus discovers a Covid variant that combines omicron and delta

(Image for representation) (Bloomberg)

Bloomberg News reported on Saturday that a researcher in Cyprus discovered a coronavirus strain that combines the delta and omicron variants.

According to Bloomberg, Leondios Kostrikis, professor of biological sciences at the University of Cyprus, named the strain “deltacron” because of its omicron-like genetic signatures within the delta genomes.

According to the report, Kostrikis and his team have found 25 cases of the virus so far. It is still too early to tell whether the strain is spreading or what effects it may have.

“We will see in the future if this strain is more pathological or more contagious or if it will prevail” against the two dominant strains, delta and omicron, Kostrikis said in an interview with Sigma TV Friday. He believes omicron will also overtake deltacron, he added.

According to Bloomberg, the researchers sent their findings to GISAID, an international virus tracking database, this week.

The deltacron variant appears as omicron continues its rapid spread around the globe, leading to an increase in Covid-19 cases. According to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University on Friday, the United States is reporting a seven-day average of more than 600,000 new cases per day. This reflects a 72 percent increase over the previous week and a pandemic high.

According to Leondios Kostrikis, professor of biological sciences at the University of Cyprus and head of the Laboratory of Biotechnology and Molecular Virology, a strain of Covid-19 that combines delta and omicron was found in Cyprus.

“There are currently omicron and delta co-infections and we found this strain that is a combination of these two,” Kostrikis said in an interview with Sigma TV Friday. The discovery was named “deltacron” due to the identification of omicron-like genetic signatures within the delta genomes, he said.

Kostrikis and his colleagues identified 25 such cases, and statistical analysis shows that the relative frequency of the combined infection is higher among Covid-19-hospitalized patients than among non-hospitalized patients. On January 7, the sequences of the 25 deltacron cases were sent to GISAID, an international database that tracks virus changes.

“We will see in the future if this strain is more pathological or more contagious or if it will prevail” over delta and omicron, he said. But his personal view is that this strain will also be displaced by the highly contagious omicron variant.

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