The Omicron variant is causing quite a rampage, sweeping across the globe and infecting millions of people per day. In the U.S. alone, the daily average of new COVID-19 cases stands at 700,000, shattering initial records set by previous strains of the virus.
Despite the whopping impact of Omicron in the first weeks of the new year, experts warn that current figures only reflect the beginning of a bigger Omicron surge. With the new variant’s higher level of transmissibility, it’s expected that Omicron will continue to reign. According to the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), it’s not a long shot for the U.S. to reach a million cases per day.
But even with the surging numbers caused by the Omicron variant, it seems that the novel Coronavirus is unforgiving. Amid Omicron’s path of destruction, a new threat has been identified by researchers in Cyprus: Deltacron, a fusion of the preceding Delta strain and the current variant of concern, Omicron.
Deltacron Strain Identified in 25 Cases in Cyprus
Although some people have been infected by both Delta and Omicron, the Deltacron strain discovered in Cyprus has different properties that make it alarming. Deltacron was initially identified as a unique strain by researchers from the University of Cyprus.
According to the institution’s Professor of Biology, Leondios Kostrikis, it seems that the late two COVID-19 strains have merged to create a brand new virus, having the genetic signature of Omicron but with genomes of Delta.
25 cases of Deltracron have been observed in Cyprus so far, particularly in hospitalized patients and some vaccinated individuals. But little is known about how transmissible it is and how severe its symptoms can get. From initial observations, however, it’s suggested that Omicron can easily displace it.
Vaccines Offer Best Protection Against Severe Illness
Omicron is a fast strain of the virus, with an incubation time that’s shorter than previous variants. In as fast as three days, an infected person can exhibit symptoms such as sore throat, congestion, lower back pain, and dry cough.
While this is the case, however, studies from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have revealed that infected individuals who are vaccinated have optimal protection.
The results from their preliminary investigation show that there is only a 0.015% chance of severe effects and 0.003% chance of death among American adults who’ve received at least two full doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Getting vaccinated (and boosted, when eligible), wearing masks, and staying home are still our best fighting chances to protect ourselves from the effects of COVID-19 — whether Delta, Omicron, or Deltacron.