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Covid-19:No "Deltacron" variant yet

In Cyprus, a researcher claims to have discovered a combination of the Omicron and Delta variants. However, the information concerning this new variant called Deltacron seems to have invaded the media too quickly. Some scientists indeed claim that it is not in fact a new strain of the coronavirus.

No merging of the two current variants

Since the start of the health crisis linked to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, almost all information has to be taken with a grain of salt. As explained by France Info in an article of January 11, 2022, the recent rumors concerning a new variant for example, would not really be founded. Questioned by the daily Bloomberg on January 8, Leondios Kostrikis, the professor of biological sciences at the University of Cyprus who made this alleged discovery, indeed mentioned the existence of Omicron and Delta co-infections and especially the discovery by Deltacron , a new strain resulting from a combination of the two variants mentioned above. In reality, this would be a kind of recombination and there is currently no evidence of a fusion between delta and omicron.

An inconsistent mix

You should know that the lack of evidence about this fusion is a consensus within the scientific community. The most likely theory is that of laboratory contamination . The two variants are indeed currently at the heart of many contaminations, so that the test samples can present these same two strains. When the term contamination is mentioned here, it means that the genetic elements of Omicron and Delta would have been found within the same screening test . In other words, the result has been distorted since it suggests the appearance of a new variant.

Having been shared on the international monitoring platform Gisaid, the Cypriot researcher's results have been commented on by other scientists. Among the latter, we find the biologist Florence Débarre, French specialist in the coronavirus. The person explained on Twitter that the sequencing of the virus was like a kind of puzzle then processed by computer.

French molecular biologist Alexis Verger and Tom Peacock, virologist at Imperial College London (UK) share the same opinion. In the absence of grouping on a phylogenetic tree , the Deltacron sequences clearly appear to be from contamination. In addition, the researchers evoke more an incoherent mixture or a sequencing artifact rather than a recombination strictly speaking. So there is no new variant or "super-variant". It is therefore useless to give in to panic.