What is Deltacron or Deltamicron, the new COVID-19 variant wreaking havoc on cities around the world?
A new variant of Coronavirus has emerged, and it’s dubbed “Deltacron,” or “deltamicron” if you like more syllables in your portmanteaus. This is because the above-suggested name was coined in response to a combination of the letters delta and omicron.
If you’ve been following news and analysis, you’ve probably seen a headline claiming that a new coronavirus variety has emerged in France, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, and recently Brazil.
However, little is known about it, including what it is and how it differs from the Omicron. Alternatively, it could have come from someone who was infected with both delta and omicron viruses; the viruses could have merged in an infected cell and then proceeded to reproduce in the afflicted individual. Recombination of viruses is to be expected, especially when a virus infects so many people.
Is Deltacron or Deltamicron a world-threat?
Should you be concerned that the new COVID-19 form may pose a greater threat to the world? Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease doctor and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, responds to that question.
“I think ‘deltacron’ is more of a clickbait term than actually a real threat that we face. We know that coronaviruses are going to recombine and there [are] going to be recombinant viruses, but there’s no evidence that this is spreading rapidly or poses any major threat.”Dr. Amesh Adalja.
“I don’t think there’s any need for general worry from the population,” he added.
It is classified as a variant of interest by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, which is a lesser classification than the “variant of concern.” It isn’t even identified as a variant of interest by the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States.
When did Deltacron or Deltamicron first appear?
In January, samples were taken and the recombinant was discovered. Only France, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands have reported it in the months since, according to GISAID, an international database that tracks coronavirus gene sequences. Although, according to Reuters, it has also been discovered in the United States and more recently in Brazil.
The country with the most recorded Deltacron cases is France with 35 recorded. Denmark is the country with the second-highest number of hits, with eight.
How can you protect yourself from the Deltacron?
Fusing delta and omicron “doesn’t give it superpowers,” says Adalja (though research into it is still ongoing). It’s unlikely to cause more severe disease compared with its origin variants.
Given that the spike protein is so similar to that of omicron, “if you’ve got antibodies that work against the omicron spike, there’s no reason they wouldn’t work against the recombinant spike,” said Adalja.
Even if the spike protein was derived from delta, we’ve seen that too, and “we know our vaccines are able to protect against serious illness.” This also applies to the antivirals that work against delta and omicron.
Even in a normal situation, outrage among the Gloabl population would develop out of fear, as there are still no convincing explanations for this new variant. COVID-19 cases have been on the rise around the world, with a particularly deadly spike in Hong Kong. It would be essential if you followed the WHO’s COVID-19 and Omicron guidelines and stayed safe.