Could omicron and delta team up to make a super variant? It’s possible, experts say
The omicron variant and the delta variant could swap genes, creating a new super variant in the process
The omicron variant of the coronavirus is on track to be the dominant strain of the virus in the United States, replacing the highly transmissible delta variant.
- Scientists are worried, though, that the omicron and the delta variant could link up and create a new super variant.
For example, Moderna Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton told the U.K. Parliament’s science and technology committee this week that it was possible for delta and omicron to link up to become a super variant.
- “There’s certainly data, there have been some papers published again from South Africa earlier from the pandemic when people — and certainly immunocompromised people — can harbour both viruses,” he said, according to the Daily Mail.
- “That would be possible here, particularly given the number of infections that we were seeing.”
This would be done through recombination, which is when two virus strains mix together. It often happens when two virus strains infect someone at the same time.
- So far, only three COVID-19 strains have been created by strains swapping genes, per The Daily Express.
- “Using genomics, there remains a lot of scrutiny of Omicron and Delta including the possibility of the variants ‘merging’ … which can occur if infected with both variants at the same time,” Bunce said, according to News Hub.
- Experts are advising people to get vaccinated and grab their COVID-19 booster shots in order to stay safe from any potential new variants.