What is the hybrid ‘deltacron’ variant of the coronavirus?
A hybrid variant of the coronavirus that has characteristics of both the delta and omicron strains has been detected in the United States and several European countries, scientists say.The delta-omicron hybrid, informally dubbed “deltacron,” is what’s known as a recombinant virus, meaning it has melded-together genetic information from both variants. Cases are thought to be rare, but researchers say studying the hybrid and tracking other potential recombinants is crucial for understanding how the coronavirus is changing as the pandemic grinds on.Here’s what to know about deltacron.What is deltacron?Recombinants can emerge when a cell is infected with two different strains of a virus at the same time — in this case, the delta variant and the omicron variant. As the viruses invade the cell and replicate, they can, in rare cases, swap parts of their genome and pick up mutations from each other.”The genomes get a bit acrobatic, and pieces can jump and then recombine together,” said Jeremy Kamil, an associate professor of microbiology and immunology at Louisiana State University Health Shreveport. “It’s like if you had 70 printouts of an identical manuscript on your desk and then an office fan turns on and blows things around, and you’re trying to