A new COVID variant that combines the Delta and Omicron strains currently circulating in the world has been found in Cyprus.
Leondios Kostrikis, professor of biological sciences at the University of Cyprus and head of the Laboratory of Biotechnology and Molecular Virology, was quoted as saying in a Bloomberg report: “There are currently Omicron and Delta co-infections and we found this strain that is a combination of these two.”
The discovery has been named “Deltacron” due to the identification of Omicron-like genetic signatures within the delta genomes.
Kostrikis and his team have identified 25 such cases and the statistical analysis shows that the relative frequency of the combined infection is higher among patients hospitalised due to COVID as compared to non-hospitalised patients.
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The sequences of the 25 Deltacron cases were sent to GISAID, the international database that tracks changes in the virus, on January 7, the report said.
“We will see in the future if this strain is more pathological or more contagious or if it will prevail over Delta and Omicron,” Kostrikis reportedly said, adding that in his personal view the new strain will also be displaced by the highly contagious Omicron.
Omicron is so contagious that India’s R-value this week stands at 4. Just for comparison, the value during the second wave in April-May last year was 1.69. R-value 4 means one infected person can transmit the virus to four others.