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Reported ‘deltacron’ likely not actual variant, virologist says

(KXAN) – A newly reported variant of COVID-19 discovered by a researcher in Cyprus that is thought to combine both delta and omicron variants – is informally known as “deltacron”.

Bloomberg News reported on Saturday that Leondios Kostrikis, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Cyprus, had discovered omicron-like genetic markers in the delta genome.

Kostrikis and his team say they have found 25 similar cases. On Friday, the researcher told the Cyprus Sigma TV network, “we’ll see if this strain is more pathological or more contagious in the future,” but he believes omicrons will ultimately remain the dominant strain. dominant.

But some experts are skeptical of the alleged new variant – pointing to evidence that it is more likely to be contaminated in the lab between delta and omicrons. Also, as Dr Tom Peacock, a virologist at the Royal Department of Infectious Diseases in the UK, explains, this could very well be a co-infection of the two virus strains.

“Small Update” Peacock tweeted Seventh, “The Cypriot ‘deltacron’ sequences reported by several major media outlets appear to be quite contaminated – they do not cluster on the phylogenetic tree and have the entire Artic primer set in place. amplicon of the omicron in another delta backbone.”

Peacock further explains that contamination is quite common when new variants are sequenced in the lab. Contamination can happen even with “very, very small amounts of liquid,” he said.

Before a new variant is classified, he says the alleged strain should be detected in some other lab first.

Back in November, Peacock warned about the then unnamed variant of omicron classification and spread quickly, telling guardian “The extremely high number of spike spikes suggests this can be really worrisome.”

Peacock says he also doubts the timing of the so-called “deltacron,” as the “recombinant” usually doesn’t appear until weeks or months when the two strains cycle around each other. He added that although the recombinant would eventually be found, it was “almost certainly” contaminated in this case.

“It has added value in the end,” writes Peacock, “much of what we understand about what makes delta more contagious/infectious, omicrons already possess – I still don’t know at the moment. omicron might have to gain from delta (with what we currently know at least). ”

Meanwhile, the Cypriot researchers submitted their findings to GISAID, a global virus database.

The United States is currently averaging more than 600,000 new COVID-19 cases per day, according to a CNBC Analysis data from Johns Hopkins University. That’s a 72% increase from last week and a record number for the entire pandemic.

https://www.kxan.com/news/international/reported-deltacron-likely-not-actual-variant-virologist-says/ Reported ‘deltacron’ likely not actual variant, virologist says

Tom Vazquez

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