Scientists in Cyprus have identified a new ‘Deltacron’ COVID strain in 25 patients that combines the Delta and Omicron variants.
Leonidos Kostrikis, professor of biological sciences at the University of Cyprus, said the strain has a similar genetic structure to Omicron with the genomes of Delta.
His team has identified 25 cases of the hybrid variant so far and it is still too early to assess its impact, Bloomberg reported.
Out of those identified, 11 of them were in patients already hospitalised with COVID and 14 were among the general public.
Kostrikis said: “We will see in the future if this strain is more pathological or more contagious or if it will prevail.”
The scientists have sent their findings to GISAID, an international database that tracks viruses.
COVID infections normally only involve one mutant strain, but in extremely rare cases two can strike at the same time.
If these also infect the same cell, they may be able to swap DNA and combine to make a new version of the virus.
Last month, the boss of Moderna warned of a hybrid mutant that he feared would be even worse than the ones currently sweeping across the globe.