A researcher in Cyprus says that he has discovered a strain of SARS-CoV-2 that is a combination of Delta and Omicron.
Leondios Kostrikis, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Cyprus, calls the strain “Deltacron”, because of its Omicron-like genetic markers in the Delta genome, Bloomberg reported January 8.
So far, Professor Kostrikis and his team have found 25 cases of this virus, after sequencing 1,377 samples in a program to track potential mutations of SARS-CoV-2 in Cyprus.
“The frequency of mutation detection is higher in hospitalized people, which means there is a correlation between Deltacron and hospitalization rates,” said Mr. Kostrikis.
The professor said it is still too early to draw conclusions about the transmissibility or effects that the Deltacron strain may have.
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“We still need to look further to see if this strain causes more severe disease, is more contagious,” Kostrikis said in an interview with Sigma TV on January 7.
The professor added that he believes Omicron will still account for the majority of new cases in the near term, compared to Deltacron.
The researchers this week submitted their findings to GISAID, an international database that tracks viruses, according to Bloomberg.
Cyprus is struggling in the fifth wave of the epidemic in the country, with the number of new infections soaring to about 5,500 cases a day, while the population is just under a million.
In just two weeks from December 21, 2021 to January 3, 2022, the country recorded a record increase of 28,414 cases, according to Cyprus’ national surveillance report on Covid-19 published on January 7. .
The Deltacron mutation appeared as Omicron continued to spread rapidly around the globe, causing a sudden increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in many regions.
The US reported an average of more than 600,000 new cases a day this week, up 72 percent from last week and a record for a pandemic in the country, according to data from Johns Hopkins University as of Jan.