Should you worry about the new ‘deltacron’ variant?

The World Health Organization said Wednesday there’s a new hybrid COVID-19 variant that combines the delta variant and the omicron variant in multiple places across the world.

In a new study to be published on research site MedRxiv, researchers said they found this new “deltacron” variant in the United States, France, the Netherlands and Denmark.

  • Three of the COVID-19 patients reviewed in the study had a version of COVID-19 that had the spike protein from omicron with the delta “body,” according to Reuters.

William Lee, the chief science officer at Helix, said there’s no immediate reason to panic over the “deltacron” variant since cases remain low.

  • “The fact that there is not that much of it, that even the two cases we saw were different, suggests that it’s probably not going to elevate to a variant of concern level,” he told USA Today.
  • Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s COVID-19 technical lead, said at a press conference Wednesday “there are very low levels of this detection.”

Society has had a run-in with a “deltacron” variant before. In January, scientists in Cyprus said they had discovered a COVID-19 variant that mixed the omicron and delta variants, per Bloomberg News.

  • However, the medical community — including biologist Eric Topol of the Scripps Research Translational Institute — disputed the science behind “deltacron.” Experts called it a “scariant” of COVID-19 that wouldn’t pose much of a threat, but made for a scary headline in the news.

The WHO will continue to monitor the new “deltacron” combination for ”any change in the epidemiology,” Van Kerkhove said during the Wednesday press conference.

  • She added, “we haven’t seen any change in severity. But there are many studies that are underway.”

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