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Health officials have continued to monitor a hybrid strain of the delta and omicron coronavirus known as “deltacron.”
In a Wednesday media briefing, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVID-19 technical lead, said that there are currently “very low levels” of detection of the potential variant.
COVID-19: UK MONITORING HYBRID DELTA-OMICRON STRAIN CALLED ‘DELTACRON’
Deltacron has been reported in France, the Netherlands and Denmark and Reuters reported that researchers have identified 17 confirmed instances in both Europe and the U.S.
“We have not seen any change in the epidemiology with this recombinant. We haven’t seen any change in severity. But, there are many studies that are underway,” Van Kerhove told reporters.
“Unfortunately, we do expect to see recombinants because this is what viruses do, they change over time,” she noted. “We’re seeing a very intense level of circulation. We are seeing this virus infect animals, with the possibility of infecting humans again. So again, the pandemic is far from over.”
Van Kerkhove called for a renewed focus on reducing the spread of the COVID-19.
In January, when cases of deltacron were first reported, some labeled deltacron a “scariant,”, with scientists expressing skepticism over its existence.
OMICRON, DELTA HAVE FUSED INTO NEW ‘DELTACRON’ STRAIN
In February, health officials in the United Kingdom officially began to monitor deltacron after it was identified in a patient, according to the country’s Health Security Agency.
Now, health experts say it’s too soon for people to worry about it.
William Hanage, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told USA Today on Thursday that Deltacron is only a variant if it produces a large number of cases.
“So no, if it’s not causing lots of cases, people don’t need to be concerned,” he advised.
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Lee said that researchers can learn from deltacron’s development to understand more about how the virus evolves, including its transmissibility and severity.