Deltakron: What do you know about the new hybrid variant?

The mixed variant of the corona virus had already been reported in January, but the report turned out to be a false alarm due to a contaminated laboratory sample. Now the first infections with Deltakron have actually been detected in European countries – including in Germany.

So far, one case has been officially registered in Germany. There have also been infections with Deltakron in the Netherlands, Great Britain, Denmark and France. What is known about the hybrid variant so far?

Deltakron: mixture of omicron and delta

The development of Deltakron is due to a recombination of the virus variants Omicron and Delta. Such a recombination can occur if a person becomes infected with both virus variants at the same time. These then mix their genetic material during further propagation via host cells.

The emergence of the hybrid variant, officially known as “BA.1 x AY.4 recombinant”, does not come as a surprise to researchers, since such processes are already known from other viruses.

A first study from France, which has so far only been published as a preprint, showed that Deltakron probably has a spike gene of the omicron variant in a component of the Delta line. This could mean that the ability of the variant to bind to host cells is increased. However, there are currently no comprehensive studies on Deltakron.

So far no cause for concern

So far, the number of infections with Deltakron in Europe has been at a very low level overall. Experts therefore currently see no evidence that the mixed variant could spread exponentially. According to Deltakron’s current knowledge, immune protection from a previous infection or vaccination should also be effective.

The new variant has been classified as a “variant under surveillance” by the World Health Organization.

Evidence in January only laboratory errors

Already in January there were reports from Cyprus about the discovery of a new hybrid variant of omicron and delta. According to experts, this finding was due to a laboratory error. Impurities during sequencing were probably responsible for the false alarm. So-called artefacts, i.e. tiny traces of variants that are already known, can contaminate analyzes and thus lead to incorrect results.

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