Yep, more variants are being found.
This time, they’ve found a variant that’s a combination of Delta and Omicron, called Deltacron.
Here’s everything you need to know about this new variant.
Is It Dangerous?
The first thing that’s on everyone’s mind is probably this question. After all, nobody wants another Delta.
Thankfully, this combination is super rare, so you don’t need to worry about getting infected by it (yet). Although this hybrid has been around since January, it hasn’t been growing exponentially.
Additionally, the gene that determines the virus’ surface protein, or spikes, is almost entirely like Omicron. The spike protein is the most important as it’s the main target that antibodies need to identify to fight your infections.
So the vaccinations we have that defend us from Omicron should be able to defend us against Deltacron as well.
Furthermore, Omicron’s spike protein is also part of the reason why it’s less severe than Delta. It invades cells in the nose and upper airway pretty well, but isn’t as successful in the lungs. This means that Deltacron, having the same spike protein, may also cause less severe illness.
So TLDR: no, Deltacron isn’t really dangerous for now, as it probably causes less severe illness and our defences are ready to fight it.
How Did The Viruses Combine?
To the conspiracy theorists, there is a completely logical answer to this question without pulling in the words lab-grown.
Sometimes, if you’re super unlucky, you could get infected with both Delta and Omicron at once.
When two versions of the virus attack the same cell at the same time, the cell might get confused and mix up the genetic material. Thus, when the cell starts producing new viruses, it ends up churning out a hybrid virus.
How and Where Did They Find This?
The most important piece of information is that Deltacron has not yet hit Singapore’s sunny shores.
A scientist with the Washington D.C. Public Health Laboratory, Scott Nguyen, was inspecting the international database of coronavirus genomes GISAID.
That was when he found something weird: there were samples collected in January in France that was a mix of Delta and Omicron variants. Initially, researchers thought that the sample simply came from someone who was infected with both variants at once.
However, Dr Nguyen saw that the sample was actually a combination of genes from Delta and Omicron. He also found more of such combinations in the Netherlands and Denmark.
He shared his findings in an online forum where scientists help each other track new variants, and it turns out that he’s right.
This hybrid has been found in France, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States.
Deltacron Might Be Named ‘XD’
No, not the laughing emoticon.
Scientists have came up with a system to name new variants of coronaviruses, and recombinant virsuses have two-letter names starting with X.
For instance, XA is a hybrid from December 2020 that mixes the Alpha and the B.1.177 variants.
Following this naming sequence, Deltacron might be named XD. But with people now making up names like Deltacron and Omidelta, we’ll never know what other names might pop up.
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Featured Image: Dan74 / shutterstock.com
OTRO is closing, and this time, it’s confirmed. Here’s what you need to know: