Health > All About Deltacron – The New Hybrid COVID Variant In India
29th Mar 2022

All About Deltacron – The New Hybrid COVID Variant In India

If you thought COVID – 19 is over, you are mistaken. Precisely when most nations are removing COVID restrictions, hoping human lives would go back to normalcy, another hybrid variant seems to be waiting for the world. This latest variant, known as Deltacron, is the mixture of two previous COVID variants – Delta & Omicron. 

The Delta Coronavirus spread severely impacted those who caught it during the second COVID wave, and the Omicron Coronavirus variant’s spread was responsible for the third wave in India. The Delta variant, a lethal variant in India, impacts the upper respiratory system and Omicron, the most transmissible one, exhibits common cold-like symptoms.   

Deltacron is a hybrid coronavirus, with the attributes of Delta and Omicron COVID strains. 

What is Deltacron? 

The latest hybrid variant of coronavirus is a combination of two COVID-19 strains – “Delta” & “Omicron”. Having the characteristics of both Delta and Omicron is the Delta-Omicron hybrid, informally termed “Deltacron” and scientifically named BA.1 + B.1.617.2. Recombinant viruses (coupled with the genetic information from both the viruses) invade the cell and multiply, in some exceptional cases, they exchange their genome units and acquire mutations from one another. Experts state that the Deltacron’s “backbone” originated from the Delta variant and its spike (the virus portion that combines with human cells) is from the Omicron variant. 

How was Deltacron discovered? 

In February 2022, health officials from the UK established that they are inspecting a new COVID strain. This came after a patient was diagnosed concurrently with both the Delta and Omicron variants of coronavirus. Then it was thought to be a laboratory mistake. Then again in mid-February, Deltacron caught the eye. Researchers from Institut Pasteur, Paris, France, revealed a genomic sequence of the variant. The genetic sequence was very different from the previous COVID variants. The genetic sequence of a senior man’s sample in France was acknowledged to be of the Deltacron variant. 

Researchers expressed that there may be dissimilar types of Deltacron variants, based upon samples gathered in the US and the UK. The samples gathered in some nations vary from those gathered in others. 

According to WHO, how dangerous is the new variant Deltacron? 

As per the World Health Organisation, it is currently hard to state how hostile the latest COVID variant, Deltacron is. However, there is no need to panic just yet, as no change in the severity of the new COVID-19 variant is noticed currently. Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, Technical Lead of WHO, made a statement about the new hybrid variant of Coronavirus. Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, stated, “Yes, we are aware of the recombinant. It is a combination of Delta (AY.4) and Omicron (BA.1). It’s been detected, but there are very low levels of this detection”. She further stated that this mutation was “to be expected, especially with the intense circulation of Omicron & Delta” and her team is “tracking and discussing” the hybrid coronavirus variant. 

What are the Symptoms of Deltacron? 

Researchers are still studying the Deltacron variant and have not given the exact information about the symptoms of Deltacron. As per the National Health Service, in the UK, the Deltacron symptoms are close to the previously reported COVID symptoms. 

  • However, an RTPCR test is decisive to test Deltacron. So, as per experts, be alert about the past COVID – 19 symptoms and get tested immediately when they develop. Symptoms like- 
  • Headache 
  • Loss of smell or taste 
  • Fatigue & loss of energy 
  • Sore throat 
  • High fever 
  • Breathing problems 
  • Persistent cough 
  • Diarrhoea etc. 

Deltacron in India 

Several Indian states have revealed Deltacron cases. At present, 221 Deltacron cases have been reported in Karnataka, 90 cases in Tamil Nadu, 66 Deltacron cases in Maharashtra, 33 in Gujarat, 32 in West Bengal, 20 in New Delhi and 25 in Telangana. 

Deltacron around the world 

Apart from France, the hybrid Deltacron variant has been discovered in Denmark, the US, the Netherlands, and the UK. 

Should we be worried about Deltacron? 

The Omicron COVID variant is a lot more infectious but less severe than the Delta variant. The Delta COVID variant had more excruciating and harsher impacts on those infected by it. This can be a cause of concern for a strain that resulted from a concoction of both these strains and has the combined characteristics of both. 

However, researchers stress that now there is a significant immunity in humans against both these variants and so the Deltacron variant may not pose such a danger that it gets elevated to the variant of concern (VOC) level. So, the Deltacron variant is under strict and constant monitoring, but the scientists have no grave concerns as of now. 

What should we do? 

Following the COVID-19 SOPs and appropriate measures is still the best way to curb the spread of the Coronavirus. These measures also limit the chances of newer variants to further evolve and mutate. With that in mind, maintaining social distance, wearing masks, proper sanitisation, and following proper hand hygiene is essential in our fight against the pandemic. First & foremost, prioritise vaccination. It may not prevent infection completely, but COVID vaccines are found very effective in lowering the severity to a great extent. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

For how long have coronaviruses been in existence?

The MRCA (Most Recent Common Ancestor) of all the coronaviruses has approximately existed as latest as 8000 BCE, however, some models place the common ancestor at 55 million years or maybe more, suggesting long term coevolution with avian and bat species. 

What is the meaning of the term long COVID? 

Long COVID is used to illustrate various signs and symptoms that continue for a few weeks or months after having a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19. 

Can the COVID–19 virus survives on surfaces? 

It is not precisely sure for how long the COVID-19 virus can survive on surfaces, however a recent study on the survival of human coronaviruses on surfaces found it to be from 2 hours to 9 days. The survival time depends on the type of surface, temperature, relative humidity, and specific virus strain. 

Why do some people get a fever after taking the COVID-19 vaccine?

The fever after the Covid-19 vaccine is an immune response triggered by the antigen present in the vaccine. The blood flow in the body is enhanced to increase the blood circulation of the defensive immune cells in the body. This may lead to an increase in body temperature, which shows up as fever.