After 'IHU' in France, now Deltacron emerges in Cyprus: What we know about new variant

Dr Leondios Kostrikis at the University of Cyprus, said the frequency of mutation among hospitalised patients was higher and could point to a correlation between the new variant and hospitalisation

FP Staff January 09, 2022 18:07:40 IST

Only days after France announced the discovery of the variant 'IHU', another new coronavirus variant Deltacron has emerged in Cyprus which has a similar genetic background to the Delta variant, as well as some of the mutations from Omicron.

So far, the scientific name of the new variant has not been announced.

But much like in the case of its French kin, experts say that it is not something to worry about just at the moment.

So here's what we know:

Deltacron

So far, in total, 10 of the mutations were found in the 25 samples taken in Cyprus. Eleven of the samples came from people who were hospitalised due to the virus, while 14 came from the general population, reported Jerusalem Post citing Cyprus Mail.

Dr Leondios Kostrikis, the head of the laboratory of biotechnology and molecular virology at the University of Cyprus, said that the frequency of the mutation among hospitalised patients was higher and could point to a correlation between the new variant and hospitalisations.

Kostrikis also emphasised that the variant has a similar genetic background to the Delta variant, as well as some of the mutations from Omicron.

The new variant was not something to worry about at the moment, said Cyprus's health minister Michalis Hadjipandelas on Saturday. He also expressed pride in discovering the new variant.

Hadjipandelas said, "The groundbreaking research and findings of Dr Kostrikis' team make us proud of our scientists." The minister also underlined that this research puts Cyprus on the international map when it comes to health matters, according to Jerusalem Post.

Also Read: Omicron: A layman's guide to understanding COVID-19 variants and strains

But according to a report by Hindustan Times, virologist Tom Peacock said on social media that Deltacron may not be an actual variant, but possibly a result of contamination. "So when new variants come through sequencing lab, contamination isn't that uncommon (very very tiny volumes of liquid can cause this) — just usually these fairly clearly contaminated sequences are not reported by major media outlets," he explained.

"Recombinants are definitely worth keeping an eye on and almost definitely will eventually be found, this particular example is almost definitely contamination though," he wrote.

 

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