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Alleged Corona variant in Cyprus: No, you don't have to worry about »Deltakron«


A laboratory in Cyprus reported a new coronavirus mutant. However, several experts agree that it is just a laboratory error.

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Corona samples are analyzed in a laboratory (archive image)


David Tanecek / CTK Photo / IMAGO

According to experts, the alleged evidence of a mixed variant of Delta and Omikron in Cyprus is probably due to contamination during the analysis. "These genomes are very likely artifacts," says Richard Neher from the University of Basel in Switzerland, a leading expert on virus variants. The omicron mutations that are observed here in connection with delta genome sequences all affect a genome segment that is often very weak in the case of delta detection and is therefore very susceptible to contamination. Other experts on Twitter, such as WHO expert Maria van Kerkhove, expressed a similar opinion: The result is likely to be due to contamination during sequencing.

Previously, reports circulated with reference to an interview with the local broadcaster Sigma TV, according to which Leontios Kostrikis from the University of Cyprus claims to have identified 25 cases in which a mixed variant of Delta and Omikron - "Deltakron" - was the cause of the infections.

"It is entirely possible that there are recombinants, but so far no major outbreaks with such variants have been observed," says Neher.

"These genomes from Cyprus are probably not recombinants."

The virologist Tom Peacock also wrote on Twitter that "Deltakron" was probably laboratory contamination.

Delta sequences with "strange mutations" in a certain area of ​​the genome have always appeared, and that could happen in any laboratory.

But you can then use the virus family trees to see whether there is actually a change or a laboratory problem

Kerkhove asked not to use terms like "Deltakron" because they suggested that it was a combination of the variants - "that doesn't happen here," said the expert.

A member of the Greek crisis team for the corona pandemic, Gkikas Magiorkinis, also said that Kostrikis' conclusions were wrong.

"The first analyzes show that it is a technical error by the laboratory," tweeted the epidemiologist.

Kostrikis himself, however, initially did not want to admit a misjudgment, he insisted on his results on Monday.

By the way, it is possible that people are infected with two different coronavirus variants at the same time.

For example, a Belgian medical team reported in March 2021 on a patient who was infected with the alpha and beta variants.

Parallel infections with other pathogens are also known and not surprising either.

wbr / dpa

Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2022-01-10

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