A new coronavirus strain combining the Omicron and Delta variants, dubbed “Deltacron” has been identified in Cyprus by professor Dr. Leontios Kostrikis of the Department of Biological Sciences of the University of Cyprus, according to Cypriot media.
According to news site sigmalive.com, the Professor claims that this new mutation has been identified in 25 cases and it seems that the strains have a genetic background of the Delta mutation.
Professor Dr. Leontios Kostrikis said there is international interest in his discovery adding that he found a significant number of variants that have been identified only in Omicron which has differences from other strains because its genome has 30 different variants. Of these, 10 variants of Omicron were identified in the incidents we identified in Cyprus.
Of the 25 patients in whom the new mutation was detected, Professor Kostrikis said 11 were hospitalised whilst 14 people belong to the general population with the incidence of the new mutation higher in inpatients than in outpatients.
When asked about the transmissibility of the new variant Professor Kostrikis said that it was too early to say whether it will overtake Omicron and Delta.
Some scientists have speculated that Leonidos Kostrikis’s findings are a product of laboratory contamination something Kostrikis rejected stating in an email to Bloomberg that the cases he has identified “indicate an evolutionary pressure to an ancestral strain to acquire these mutations and not a result of a single recombination event.”
What’s more, the samples were processed in multiple sequencing procedures in more than one country. And at least one sequence from Israel deposited in a global database exhibits genetic characteristics of deltacron, he said.
“These findings refute the undocumented statements that deltacron is a result of a technical error,” Kostrikis added.