“There are currently Omicron and Delta co-infections and we found this strain that is a combination of these two,” Kostrikis said in an interview on Friday. The discovery was named “Deltacron” due to the identification of Omicron-like genetic signatures within the Delta genomes, he said. Kostrikis and his team have identified 25 such cases and the statistical analysis shows that the relative frequency of the combined infection is higher among patients hospitalised due to Covid-19 as compared to non-hospitalised patients.
The sequences of the 25 “Deltacron” cases were sent to GISAID, the international database that tracks changes in the virus, on January 7. “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.
Other scientists have speculated that Kostrikis’s findings are a result of laboratory contamination. But Kostrikis, in an emailed statement, said that the cases he has identified “indicate an evolutionary pressure to an ancestral strain to acquire these mutations and not a result of a single recombination event.” “Deltacron infection is higher among patients hospitalised for Covid than among non-hospitalised patients, so that rules out the contamination hypothesis,” he said.
What’s more, the samples were processed in multiple sequencing procedures in more than one country. And at least one sequence from Israel deposited in a global database exhibits genetic characteristics of Deltacron, he said. Health minister Michael Hadjipantela said the new variant isn’t of concern, and more details will be this week. bloomberg