New 'Deltacron' Covid variant from Cyprus slammed by experts as 'not real' threat01/10/2022
A NEW coronavirus variant dubbed 'Deltracron' is not a 'real thing', an expert has claimed.
Scientists in Cyprus said the new strain was a combination of both Delta and the milder variant, Omicron – which is now dominant in the UK.
But experts have now warned that it's not real and that it's the discovery is likely down to an issue at the lab.
The new discovery was made by a research team led by Leondios Kostrikis, professor of biological sciences at the University of Cyprus.
The team have identified 25 such cases and data shows the relative frequency of the combined infection is higher among patients hospitalised due to Covid.
The variant was called Deltacron due to the identification of omicron-like genetic signatures within the delta genomes, Kostrikis explained.
“There are currently omicron and delta co-infections and we found this strain that is a combination of these two,” Kostrikis said in an interview with Sigma TV Friday.
A string of hugely positive studies show Omicron IS milder than other strains, with the first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalisation is 50 to 70 per cent lower than with Delta.
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Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.
The Sun's Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits' arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.
However, experts at the World Health Organisation (WHO) have said the discoveryin Cyprus is actually due to lab contamination.
Dr Krutika Kuppalli said: "Deltacron is not real and is likely due to sequencing artifact (lab contamination of Omicron sequence fragments in a Delta specimen).
"Let’s not merge of names of infectious diseases and leave it to celebrity couples."
She also highlighted that there was no such thing as flurona, which medics said is a condition where people have tested positive for Covid and also have the flu.
Dr Kuppalli said that we shouldn't be acting like coronavirus is no longer a problem, and said it still needs to be taken seriously.
She said: "Ignoring it isn’t going to make it go away – we have the tools to tackle it head on, so let’s use them! Get vaccinated, wear a mask, get tested, stay Home if sick, improve ventilation."
Kostrikis, the head of the University of Cyprus's Laboratory of Biotechnology and Molecular Virology said “we will see in the future if this strain is more pathological or more contagious or if it will prevail”.
But Kostrikis' personal view is that this strain will also be displaced by the highly contagious omicron variant.
The Cypriot researchers sent their findings to GISAID, an international database that tracks viruses.
The discovery of the new variant comes as omicron continues its rapid spread across the globe, causing a surge in Covid cases.
Back in December, a top vaccine boss warned there is a very real risk of getting a "dual infection" from both Omicron and Delta.
Dr Paul Burton, chief medical officer for Moderna, said: "In the near future these two viruses are going to coexists."
He made the warning as he spoke to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee.
“Omicron is going to infect people with a very strong background of Delta.
"I think Omicron poses a real threat – the doubling time at three days is far faster than we've seen.
"People can harbor both viruses, and that could be possible here. It certainly could be [much worse].
"It give an opportunity for the two viruses could share genes and swap genes over."
It's not clear if this would make any infection worse but could certainly cause potential opportunities for each variant to develop further, Dr Burton warned.
Although it is rare, this has happened before in the pandemic.
A 90-year-old woman in Belgium caught both Alpha and Beta variants at the same time.
She had not been vaccinated and doctors suspected she had contracted the dual viruses from two different people, before she died.
Covid variants have previously been referred to by their country of origin, whether it's the Indian variant, the Kent strain or the South African variant.
But some variants have now been renamed with experts referring to them by their Greek names.
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