A hybrid variant of Covid-19 has been detected across Europe and the US.
The mutated version is a combination of both the Delta and Omicron strains, forming a hybrid version of the virus.
Scientists believe the mutation - which they've named Deltacron - may have emerged from a person infected with both strains at once, allowing them to become a human petrie dish.
Initial research into the new variant revealed it is similar to the Delta strain, but has some nasty characteristics of the Omicron mutation, sparking fears that Deltacron could now be a potent, highly infections combination of the two strains.
Associate professor of microbiology and immunology at Louisiana State University Jeremy Kamil explained to NBC: “Delta basically grabbed Omicron’s spike protein.
“This is essentially Delta trying to hang on by plagiarising from Omicron. The genomes get a bit acrobatic, and pieces can jump and then recombine together.
“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 put everything back in order. Viruses are no different from that.”
Dr Kamil said Deltacron was like the Delta variant getting a software upgrade while wearing Omicron’s invisibility cloak.
The World Health Organisation's Maria Van Kerkhove said the new hybrid variant will likely pop up in more and more countries in the next few weeks.
"As we look more, as we do more sequencing, it is possible that this recombinant virus will be detected in other countries, but it is circulating as we understand at very low levels,” Dr Van Kerkhove said.
Deltacron has been detected across the UK and Europe, with 30 cases in the UK, 36 in France, eight in Denmark, and one each in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, according to GISAID.
So far, samples of Deltacron have been identified mostly in Europe.
GISAID, a body that researches and tracks influenza and Covid strains, have reported there have been 36 samples of Deltacron reported in France, eight in Denmark and one each in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.
This is the first time a hybrid of two major strains of coronavirus has been discovered.
A supposed Delta-Omicron hybrid was initially reported by researchers in Cyprus in January, but wound up being the result of contamination in the lab.
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