Researchers discover COVID-19 strain combining delta and omicron variants: report

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A new combination strain of the delta and omicron variants of COVID-19 was recently discovered in the Middle East, Bloomberg News reported Saturday.

A team of researchers at the University of Cyprus in the island country Cyprus has identified 25 cases of what they’re calling “deltacron,” the outlet said referencing Leondios Kostrikis who heads the school’s Laboratory of Biotechnology and Molecular Virology.

Kostrikis, a biological sciences professor, described deltacron as having omicron-like genetic signatures within its delta genomes.

“There are currently omicron and delta co-infections and we found this strain that is a combination of these two,” Kostrikis told Sigma TV on Friday, according to Bloomberg.

On Friday, Kostrikis and his team sent sequences of the 25 deltacron cases to GISAID, the international database that monitors changes in COVID-19.

Kostrikis said his team’s statistical analysis revealed that the relative frequency of deltacron is higher in COVID-19 patients who have been hospitalized due to the virus than in those who have not.

He expects deltacron will eventually be displaced by the extremely contagious omicron variant.

“We will see in the future if this strain is more pathological or more contagious or if it will prevail [over delta and omicron],” Kostrikis said.

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