Coronavirus: 'Deltacron' variant discovered in Cyprus

A new COVID-19 variant has a similar genetic background to the Delta variant, together with 10 mutations from Omicron

Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (purple) infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (yellow), also known as novel coronavirus, isolated from a patient sample. (photo credit: NIH/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (purple) infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (yellow), also known as novel coronavirus, isolated from a patient sample.
(photo credit: NIH/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

A new coronavirus variant nicknamed "Deltacron" has been discovered in Cyprus, local media reported on Saturday.

The variant has a similar genetic background to the Delta variant, as well as some of the mutations from Omicron, explained Dr. Leondios Kostrikis, the head of the laboratory of biotechnology and molecular virology at the University of Cyprus, according to the Cyprus Mail.

In total, 10 of the mutations from Omicron were found in the 25 samples taken in Cyprus. 11 of the samples came from people who were hospitalized due to the virus, while 14 came from the general population.

Kostrikis theorized that the fact that the frequency of the mutation among hospitalized patients was higher could point to a correlation between the new variant and hospitalizations.

Cyprus's Health Minister Michalis Hadjipandelas stated on Saturday that the new variant was not something to worry about at the moment and expressed pride in the country's scientists for discovering the new variant.

 People wait outside a vaccination centre, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Limassol, Cyprus May 4, 2021 (credit: YIANNIS KOURTOGLOU/REUTERS) People wait outside a vaccination centre, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Limassol, Cyprus May 4, 2021 (credit: YIANNIS KOURTOGLOU/REUTERS)

"The groundbreaking research and findings of Dr. Kostrikis’ team make us proud of our scientists as this research puts Cyprus on the international map when it comes to health matters," said Hadjipandelas, according to the Cyprus Mail.

Cyprus's Health Ministry plans to announce more information about the new variant in a press conference at the beginning of the week. The scientific name of the new variant has not been announced as of yet.

The announcement of the new variant comes just a week after a new coronavirus variant, B.1.640.2, was discovered in France. Experts have stated that it seems not to be a cause of concern.