A number of leading experts tweeted on Sunday that the "Deltacron" variant which allegedly is a new "super variant" combining both Delta and Omicron is in fact likely to be only a lab processing error, CNBC reported on Sunday.
Last week, Dr.Leondios Kostrikis from Cyprus explained that the variant had a similar genetic background to Delta but also 10 mutations that were unique to the so-called Deltracron.
Kostrikis and his team researched 25 cases of the variant: 11 of the samples came from people who were hospitalized due to the virus, while 14 came from the general population.
Researchers downplayed the new discovery.
They reiterated that "lab contamination" is a common phenomenon, and has already occurred in the COVID pandemic.
Okay people let’s make this a teachable moment, there is no such thing as #Deltacron (Just like there is no such thing as #Flurona) #Omicron and #Delta did NOT form a super variant This is likely sequencing artifact (lab contamination of Omicron fragments in a Delta specimen) https://t.co/DDvM24bt9g— Krutika Kuppalli, MD FIDSA (@KrutikaKuppalli) January 9, 2022
“Recombination can occur in coronaviruses," Dr. Boghuma Kabisen Titanji, an infectious diseases expert at Emory University in Atlanta, explained on Twitter. "The enzyme that replicates their genome has a tendency to slip off the RNA strand it is copying and then rejoining where it left off. With Delta and Omicron both in circulation, dual infection with both variants increases this concern,” she tweeted.
Dr. Tom Peacock from Imperial College London agreed, tweeting that the Deltacron sequence was almost certainly lab contamination.
"Quite a few of us have had a look at the sequences and come to the same conclusion: it doesn’t look like a real recombinant," he said.
I should add as well - this is not really related to 'quality of the lab' or anything similar - this literally happens to every sequencing lab occasionally! This is particularly true with high ct value swabs (ie low levels of virus) and using older primer sets.— Tom Peacock (@PeacockFlu) January 9, 2022