SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Researchers are learning more about a new COVID variant that has been discovered – it’s called ‘Deltacron.’
It is a combination of genes from both delta and omicron variants.
KRON4 spoke with local infection specialists about the new variant and why the World Health Organization has just recognized it.
Deltacron first appeared in January, but now there have been several cases.
On Wednesday, the WHO decided to start tracking it, but they do not call it a variant of concern yet.
“It has functions of the omicron and functions of the delta,” said Professor of Infectious Diseases at UC Berkeley, Dr. John Swartzberg.
Because of this, the new variant has been dubbed the “deltacron” – though Swartzberg says the name may change.
“It sounds pretty ominous, if you take the worst aspects of delta, which was a more serious disease, and you combine it with the worst aspects of omicron, which is very transmissible, then you have something that sounds pretty scary,” he said. Swartzberg. “There is absolutely no evidence that this new recombinant virus has these qualities at all.”
UCSF infectious disease specialist Peter Chin-Hong says both of these variants were probably involved in creating this new one.
“At one point, there are two circulating variants, so a person can actually capture two variants at once, and the two variants can actually invade the same cell, and then they can have children,” Chin-Hong said.
Chin-Hong says, in this case, the baby would be deltacron, but your body may already be ready to fight this new variant.
“So far, it looks like the outside of the deltacron looks almost like the omicron,” he said.
Deltacron has been discovered in the United States, but at present it is not a major concern.
Both doctors say you should not be surprised or frightened to see COVID mutate again.
“It’s a normal part of viruses, it happens all the time, but we never really know how it unfolds in life until it comes out into the community,” Chin-Hong said.
Infection specialists stressed that the best way to protect against this variant, or any future variants, is to be vaccinated.