Over the weekend, reports of a new variant emerged from Cyprus, which scientists have named ‘Deltacron’. As the name suggests, the variant has combined traits of the Delta and Omicron.
Discovered by Prof. Leondios Kostrikis who dubbed the new variant as the “Deltacron,” this mutation of the coronavirus has a similar genetic background to the Delta variant but contains ten of the mutations from the Omicron.
Kosrikis and his team found 25 cases of the virus in Cyprus, with 11 samples taken from hospitalized COVID patients and 14 samples from COVID patients in the general population. “We will see in the future if this strain is more pathological or more contagious or if it will prevail” against Delta and Omicron, Kostrikis said in an interview with Sigma TV on Friday, adding that he believes that the Deltacron will be displaced by the highly infectious Omicron.
It is too early to say what impact, if any, ‘Deltacron’ could have on the global fight against Covid-19, and some virologists have said ‘Deltacron’ is not a new variant because it cannot be traced or plotted on a phylogenetic tree of SARS-CoV-2 viruses. Virologist Tom Peacock said on social media, “Small update: the Cypriot ‘Deltacron’ sequences reported by several large media outlets look to be quite clearly contamination – they do not cluster on a phylogenetic tree and have a whole Arctic primer sequencing amplicon of Omicron in an otherwise Delta backbone”.