Deltacron, a hybrid of Delta and Omicron variants, discovered in Cyprus

Nicosia: According to Leondios Kostrikis, professor of biological sciences at the University of Cyprus and head of the Laboratory of Biotechnology and Molecular Virology, a new COVID-19 strain that mixes delta and omicron was discovered in Cyprus.

In an interview with Sigma TV on Friday, Kostrikis said, “There are now omicron and delta co-infections, and we uncovered this strain that is a combination of the two.” According to him, the discovery was given the name “deltacron” because of the detection of omicron-like genetic markers within the delta genomes.

Kostrikis and his colleagues discovered 25 such cases, and statistical analysis revealed that the frequency (relative in nature) of the combined infection is higher among COVID-19-hospitalised patients than among non-hospitalised patients. 

On January 7, the sequences of the 25 ‘deltacron’ samples were sent to GISAID, an international database that records virus alterations.

“We will see in the future if this strain is more pathological or more contagious or if it will prevail” over delta and omicron, he said. However, in his opinion, the extremely contagious omicron variation will also supplant this strain.

The new strain is not of concern for the Mediterranean country as it is a combination of mutations of two strains that already exist in Cyprus, according to Cypriot Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela.

In the week of January 1 to 7, more than two million daily cases of covid-19 were detected, on average, worldwide; a figure that doubled in ten days. The number of new daily cases increased by 270% since the discovery of Omicron in Botswana and South Africa in late November 2021 .

The vast majority of recent infections were detected in Europe (7,211,290 cases in seven days, 47% more than the previous week) and in the United States and Canada (4,808,098 infections, an increase of 76%). 

However, the current wave of infections is not accompanied by an increase in deaths . In the last seven days, there were an average of 6,237 deaths a day in the world, the lowest figure since the end of October 2020.

Eleni Kyriakou

Eleni is a journalist and analyst at Parliament Magazine focusing on European News and current affairs. She worked as Press and Communication Office – Greek Embassy in Lisbon and Quattro Books Publications, Canada. She is Multilingual with a good grip of cultures, eye in detail, communicative, effective. She holds Master in degree from York University.