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New COVID-19 variant Deltacron emerges in Cyprus. All you need to know

Researchers have detected a new coronavirus strain that combines traits of both the Delta variant and the Omicron variant.

The new COVID-19 strain detected in Cyprus has been dubbed ‘Deltacron’ by Leondios Kostrikis, professor of biological sciences and head of Laboratory of Biotechnology and Molecular Virology at the University of Cyprus.

In an interview with Sigma TV, Kostrikis said: “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 identifying omicron-like genetic signatures within the delta genomes.”

However, the latest SARS-CoV-2 variant with Omicron-like genetic signatures within the Delta genomes may not pose a severe threat. According to various media reports, experts believe it is not a cause of concern yet, especially given that researchers are yet to find out if it is more pathological or contagious or if it will prevail.

Some have even opined that the Deltacron strain is not a natural variant of SARS-CoV-2 at all. Virologist Tom Peacock wrote on social media: “So when new variants come through sequencing lab, contamination isn’t that uncommon (very very tiny volumes of liquid can cause this) – just usually these fairly clearly contaminated sequences are not reported by major media outlets.”

As per a Bloomberg report, 25 cases of the Deltacron variant have been detected so far. On January 7, the sequences of these 25 cases were sent to GISAID — the global database for tracking changes in the coronavirus.

Notably, Deltacron is not the official name given to the World Health Organization (WHO) strain, and it is not an officially acknowledged variant either.

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