Just as life seemed to be on its way back to normal, with COVID-19 cases declining, researchers say they have identified a new variant of the virus.
A combination of the delta and omicron variants, deltacron, as it is called, has been reported in Europe and the United States, although researchers are still learning about it.
Here’s what you need to know about the latest variant:
Deltacron is a recombinant virus, a virus mutation that is created when DNA from two strains is combined. In this case, deltacron has genetic material from the delta and omicron variants. It was first identified in France in January and has since been reported in a handful of cases in Europe and the United States, according to the World Health Organization.
Not what we are aware of. Two cases have been reported in the United States. – both in California.
We do not know yet.
On 9 March, the WHO marked the deltacron as “variant under surveillance“, which means that it may pose a future risk, but evidence of its effect is unclear. Its status may change as researchers learn more about it.” Variants under surveillance “is the lowest of three categories of COVID-19 variants tracked by WHO Deltacron could be upgraded to one variant of interest if it turns out to be highly transmissible or cause more serious illness and shows significant spread in the community. Delta and omicron, the most common variants, fall into the highest category – variants of concern.
“Whether it’s going to rise as an omicron, we do not know,” said Reynold Panattieri, vice chancellor of translational medicine and science at Rutgers University.
We do not know yet. With only a few dozen reported cases, researchers are still learning about deltacron. But because it is a mutation of delta and omicron, doctors expect it to behave in the same way.
Is it possible. Whether hospital admissions begin to rise again in the United States, as they have been in some parts of Europe, will depend on the severity of new variants and what precautions people continue to take. Retiring from safety protocols, such as wearing masks indoors, can put people at greater risk of getting a new variant.
“We are at a point where we can relax some of our restrictions,” Panattieri said. “But it’s not an on / off button – it’s more like a dimmer.”
Researchers are still learning about deltacron, however expect its symptoms to resemble omicron and delta. Common COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, fatigue, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat and congestion.
It’s unclear exactly how well the vaccines work against deltacron, but the researchers expect that they will protect about as well against deltacron as they do against other variants. As new variants mutate, they have been better able to infect even vaccinated people, but people who have been fully vaccinated and boosted experience less serious illness and are much less likely to be hospitalized or die from the virus compared to unvaccinated people. people. Pfizer recently said one fourth dose of its vaccine – another booster after the primary two-dose regimen – would improve protection against currently circulating and future variants.