covid-19 virus

Should We Be Concerned About Deltacron? – Testing Remains Key

In recent weeks there have been more and more articles emerging around a new variant that’s a recombinant of both Delta and Omicron, aptly named Deltacron.
Many of these articles share comments from WHO representatives, and reference a WHO briefing around Deltacron. In this briefing WHO’s Technical Lead on COVID-19 Dr Maria Van Kerkhove addressed the emergence of the variant stating:

'The recombinant, itself, this is something that is expected given the large amount of circulation of virus, especially with the high numbers we saw with both Omicron and Delta.’ Adding that ‘Unfortunately, we do expect to see recombinants because this is what viruses do. They change over time. We’re seeing a very intense level of circulation.'

Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO Technical Lead on Covid-19

Many of the articles touching on how dangerous Deltacron seem to play down its potential risk, and while WHO haven’t explicitly said that it is a concern right now. As Dr Van Kerkhove touches on, we know the nature of viruses and evolve and mutate. So, while it isn’t explicitly being branded as a concern, we all need to remain cautious, because at present there really isn’t enough medical evidence to inform us how this new recombinant might impact us moving forward.

‘There are next to no scientific papers on this at present, and that’s likely because it’s very new. After much earlier debate as to whether it existed, it is only in the last week that virologists from the L’Institut Pasteur in Paris have confirmed through gene sequencing, the genome of a genuine Deltacron variant. There are countless articles around this ‘new variant’ but with regards to academic papers and credible information about its behaviour, severity or transmissibility, there is currently very little.

This means we must continue to follow measures which keep ourselves and those around us safe and maintain a close eye on the variant as it develops and respond accordingly once we have more reliable data.’

Dr Adam Al-Khafaji MBChB BSc MRCEM MRCGP PGCert (Testbase Medical Director)

So, what does Dr Maria Van Kerkhove (WHO’s Technical Lead on COVID-19) suggest is the key to tackling this virus?

Testing remains a critical part of the COVID-19 response. It’s about making sure that we have good testing, intelligent testing, strategic testing, not only to monitor the variants and virus evolution but to ensure that people know where the virus is and can get the appropriate care they need, for health workers to be able to get patients into that clinical care pathway as quickly as possible so that we can save as many lives as possible.’

Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO Technical Lead on Covid-19

The behaviour of this new variant remains unpredictable, and only time will tell if it triggers a new wave of infections, but regardless, testing remains the only truly effective way to ensure risks are mitigated in both personal and professional environments.

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