Omicron-Delta ‘hybrid’ gets sinister name

A possible Covid-19 variant hybrid has emerged in Cyprus, but some scientists are calling it a false alarm

A hybrid of the Delta and Omicron Covid-19 variants has reportedly been discovered in Cyprus and 25 cases of the virus have already been recorded. Critics of the discovery, however, allege it to be a mere case of contamination.

University of Cyprus biological sciences professor Leondios Kostrikis dubbed the new hybrid ‘Deltacron’ and warned on Friday that the world “will see in the future if this strain is more pathological or more contagious or if it will prevail” over current variants.

Twenty-five cases of Deltacron have already been recorded and reported to the GISAID Covid-19 mutation database. Kostrikis, however, said that the hybrid would likely be overpowered by the already mass-circulating Omicron variant.

Though some expressed concern over reports of yet another variant, several scientists dismissed the discovery as a media “scariant” and a false alarm.

#Deltacron that was reported from Cyprus as a possible new variant having combination of Delta and Omicron has now been shown to be contamination of the samples analyzed hence the two genetic sequences. #Deltacron is not a new variant and doesn’t exist in real life. Phew 😮‍💨

— Dr Ahmed Kalebi, 𝗢𝗚𝗪 (@DrAhmedKalebi) January 9, 2022

“The Cypriot ‘Deltacron’ sequences reported by several large media outlets look to be quite clearly contamination,” claimed virologist Tom Peacock on Saturday, explaining that “they do not cluster on a phylogenetic tree and have a whole Artic primer sequencing amplicon of Omicron in an otherwise Delta backbone.”

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