Deltakron: Zoom in on the hybrid variant of Delta and Omicron

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Many patients have contracted a particular form of COVID-19: a cross between two types of delta and omicron, called deltachron. What do we know about these conditions that have been reported in France since January 17, 2022?

Since the beginning of the year, a doctor from Cyprus and British health officials have reported cases of contamination by the Omicron variant and the Delta* variant.

In France, Public Health France has taken up this topic and in turn noted the existence of contamination by this “hybrid” variant. According to the authority, the first case is dated January 17, 2022. As of 21 February, the number of “potential co-infections” was estimated at 59, details Public Health France, which has established “reinforced surveillance of delta/s”. oomicron co-infection to detect potential recombinants as early as possible”.

This situation now pertains to all regions of France. Reassuringly, the movement of DeltaCron does not appear to form a cluster to date.

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“Deltakron”: Ten cases of contamination with a hybrid version of COVID-19 found in France

Error copying genetic material

So these co-infections would prove that we can all be contaminated with two forms at once. But what happens in the event of viral recombination?

When the virus replicates in our cells, a copying error occurs: The genetic material of the two types is mixed. The first part of the copy is made from the genetic code of the first strain (delta). Then this copying process starts all over again but with a copy of the genetic code of the other strain (Omicron). A hybrid is born.

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This situation has already been described: according to Public Health France, 2.7% of recombinants associated with Sars-CoV-2 have been identified so far, out of 1.6 million genomes sequenced since the start of the pandemic.

Read also:
COVID-19: What we know about the “Deltakron” hybrid variant identified in the United Kingdom

DeltaCron under surveillance

Would DeltaCron be more contagious and/or dangerous than just Delta or Omicron variants? “It is difficult to predict whether the characteristics of such a recombinant will be compared to the two parental forms and to estimate its impact on public health”, affirms Public Health France.

Vigilance is still needed: the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the DeltaCron variant in the list of variants placed under surveillance.

*Leondios Kostrikis, professor of biology at the University of Cyprus and director of the Laboratory of Biotechnology and Molecular Virology, speaks in a Bloomberg column

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