The World Health Organization said Wednesday there’s a new hybrid COVID-19 variant that combines the delta variant and the omicron variant in multiple places across the world.
What they found: In a new study to be published on research site MedRxiv, researchers said they found this new “deltacron” variant in the United States, France, the Netherlands and Denmark.
- Three of the COVID-19 patients reviewed in the study had a version of COVID-19 that had the spike protein from omicron with the delta “body,” according to Reuters.
Yes, but: William Lee, the chief science officer at Helix, told USA Today there’s no immediate reason to panic over the “deltacron” variant since cases remain low.
- “The fact that there is not that much of it, that even the two cases we saw were different, suggests that it’s probably not going to elevate to a variant of concern level,” he told USA Today.
- Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s COVID-19 technical lead, said at a press conference Wednesday “there are very low levels of this detection.”
Flashback: Society has had a run-in with a “deltacron” variant before. In January, scientists in Cyprus said they had discovered a COVID-19 variant that mixed the omicron and delta variants, per Bloomberg News.
- However, the medical community — including biologist Eric Topol of the Scripps Research Translational Institute — disputed the science behind “deltacron.” Experts called it a “scariant” of COVID-19 that wouldn’t pose much of a threat, but made for a scary headline in the news.
What’s next: The WHO will continue to monitor the new “deltacron” combination for ”any change in the epidemiology,” Van Kerkhove said during the Wednesday press conference.
- She added, “we haven’t seen any change in severity. But there are many studies that are underway.”