A newly discovered Covid variant that combines mutations from both Omicron and Delta is a “real thing”, scientists say.
That year, concern was raised after a laboratory in Cyprus claimed to have found evidence of a Delta-Omicron recombination event – when two variants co-infect the same patient and exchange materials. genetic material to create a new generation of virus offspring – but experts say the finding was wrong.
Now, however, virologists from L’Institut Pasteur in Paris have sequenced the genome of a genuine ‘Deltacron’ variant, which has been discovered in several regions of France and appears to have circulated from the beginning of January.
Aris Katzourakis, professor of evolution and genetics at the University of Oxford, said: “This is legit. “[It is] one to keep an eye on. ”
Viral genomes structurally similar to the Deltacron variant in France have also been detected in Denmark and the Netherlands, but it has yet to be determined if these recombinations derive from the same ancestor.
Dr Stephen Griffin, a virologist at the University of Leeds, said: “The French cluster appears to be a validated event where a recombination event gave rise to a virus suitable enough to circulate”.
“While it does not appear to have developed into a dominant strain, this is likely due to a very slow onset based on seeding density (initial number of cases).”
The “backbone” of the Deltacron variant is of Delta origin, but its spike protein, which allows the virus to enter human cells, is derived from Omicron.
Dr Griffin said: “There are many possible scenarios here in terms of what this means for infected individuals because the combination of these viral proteins can function differently for both fathers and mothers. mom”.
According to Dr. Griffin, when originating its spike from Omicron, the Deltacron variant could target the upper respiratory tract, rather than the lungs. “At the same time, there are several parts of Omicron that are thought to be able to alleviate the severity of the deficiency in the recombinant,” he said.
There is still no clear data on whether Deltacron is more infectious or deadly than its predecessors. Dr Griffin said “the fact that it still exists in the reality of Omicron” suggests its transmittance “can’t be too shoddy”.
Last month, the UK Health Security Service said it was investigating a variant called “Delta x Omicron Recombinant (UK)” – but did not know if this was related to France-based Deltacron or not. are not.
Maria van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s Covid technical team leader, said her team is “monitoring and discussing” the new variant.
Professor Lawrence Young, a virologist at the University of Warwick, said the arrival of Deltacron “highlights the need to maintain genetic surveillance” in the UK and elsewhere.
“This looks like the real thing,” he said. “A true recombinant. Its behavior needs to be monitored for transmissibility and its ability to evade vaccine-induced immune protection.”
Dr Griffin echoed this point: “This is another clear demonstration that we are still in a dynamic with respect to Sars2 and that maintaining genetic testing and surveillance is both appropriate and prudent.
“Pervasiveness is a major driver of the virus’s growth, making it all the more unwise to disregard or control current cases.”
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https://www.independent.ie/world-news/coronavirus/one-to-keep-an-eye-on-delta-omicron-hybrid-identified-for-first-time-41432194.html ‘One thing to keep an eye on’ – Delta-Omicron hybrid first identified