Home / News / World /  'Deltacron is a result of...': WHO on new Covid strain that combines Delta and Omicron
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The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday said that the phrase, "Deltacron", which suggests that Delta and Omicron have combined, is not really a thing.

“In fact, what we think that it's a result of contamination that has happened during the sequencing process," WHO technical lead of Covid-19 Dr Maria Van Kerkhove said.

She, however, clarified saying that it's possible for an individual to be infected with different variants of SARS-CoV-2. The WHO technical lead also stated that there have been examples of coinfection, in which people were infected with both influenza and Covid-19 “throughout this pandemic."

“There was a recent systematic review that looked at the prevalence of this (coinfection with Covid-19 and influenza). They also looked at whether or not people had more severe disease," Kerkhove said, adding that the review discovered that coinfection didn't increase the severity of the disease.

Few days back, unverified reports emerged of a "flurona" or "flurone" virus circulating – a combination of the flu and Covid-19 – which the WHO had dismissed.

"Let's not use words like Deltacron, flurona or flurone. Please," Kerkhove tweeted. "These words imply combination of viruses/variants and this is not happening," she said.

'Deltacron likely result of lab error'

Experts have said that an alleged hybrid Covid-19 mutation dubbed "Deltacron" reportedly discovered in a Cyprus lab is most likely the result of a lab contamination, and not a new worrying variant.

Cypriot media reported the discovery Saturday, describing it as having "the genetic background of the Delta variant along with some of the mutations of Omicron".

While it is possible for coronaviruses to genetically combine, it is rare, and scientists analysing the discovery of so-called "Deltacron" say it is unlikely.

"The Cypriot 'Deltacron' sequences reported by several large media outlets look to be quite clearly contamination," Tom Peacock, a virologist with the infectious diseases department at Imperial College London, tweeted over the weekend.

Jeffrey Barrett, the head of the Covid-19 Genomics Initiative at Britain's Wellcome Sanger Institute, said the alleged mutations are located on a part of the genome that is vulnerable to error in certain sequencing procedures.

"This is almost certainly not a biological recombinant of the Delta and Omicron lineages," he said Monday.

Scientists are eager to battle a deluge of disinformation about coronavirus, much of it circulating on social media.

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