The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on March 9 that a new variant of Covid-19 was detected.
Although officially registered as AY.4/BA.1, its common name is ‘Deltacron’ because it is a combination of Delta and Omicron variants.
WHO has not yet identified it as a ‘variant of concern’ because they believe it does not pose a significant public health hazard.
So far, the Deltacron variant has been found in European countries, the USA and South America.
The rate of contagiousness, resistance to vaccines, and the severity of its symptoms still remain to be clarified. Scientists say more research is needed.
WHAT IS THE SOURCE?
The first Deltacron cases emerged in France in January 2022. Since then cases have also been identified in Belgium, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands.
Recently, Deltacron has also been encountered in the UK, USA and Brazil.
But the number of cases is very low so far. As of March 15, there are only 47 cases of AY.4/BA.1 registered in Gisaid, 36 of them from France.
Judging from the data from January to March, we are facing no more contagious variant than Delta and Omicron.
An pending study by researchers at Helix, a private genetics company in the USA, supports this idea.
Researchers examined 29,000 positive Covid-19 samples collected between November 2021 and February 2022. This is a time when both Delta and Omicron variants are heavily circulated in the US.
They found that only two cases were associated with Deltacron.
The team that conducted the study noted the ‘rarity’ of the new variant for the time being and said they saw no evidence that the Delta-Omicron compound was more contagious than the current Omicron.