SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Scientists are learning more about a new COVID variant called “Deltacron.”
It’s a combination of genes from both delta and omicron varaints.
FOX 5 sister station KRON spoke with local infectious disease specialists about the new variant, and why the World Health Organization has just acknowledged it.
The variant first appeared in January, but now there have been more cases. On Wednesday, the WHO decided to start tracking it, but they’re not calling it a “variant of concern” yet.
“It’s got features of omicron and features of delta,” said Professor of Infectious Diseases at UC Berkeley Doctor John Swartzberg.
Because of that, the new variant has been dubbed “deltacron” — although Swartzberg says that name could change.
“It sounds pretty ominious if you take the worst aspects of delta, which was a more serious illness, and you combine it with the worst aspects of omicron which is very transmissible then you have something that sounds pretty scary,” Swartzberg said. “There is absolutely no evidence that this new recombinant virus has those qualities at all.”
UCSF Infectious Disease Specialist Doctor Peter Chin-Hong says both those variants were likely involved in creating this new one.
“At some point, there is two circulating variants so one person can actually catch two variants at one time 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, that child would be deltacron, but, your body may already be primed to fight off this new variant.
“So far it seems like the outside of deltacron is looking almost exactly like omicron,” he said.
Deltacron has been detected in the United States, but at this point, it is not a major concern.
Both doctors say you shouldn’t be surprised or alarmed to see COVID mutating again.
“It’s a normal part of viruses, it happens all the time but we never really know how it plays out in the field of life until it gets out into the community,” Chin-Hong said.
The infectious disease specialists did emphasize that the best way to protect yourself from this variant, or any future variants, is to get vaccinated.