World Health Organization is monitoring Deltacron, Stealth variants of Covid-19

Right now, researchers say there’s no evidence Deltacron is more transmissible or severe. However, WHO said many studies are underway.
Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 6:46 PM CDT
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Wis. (WBAY) - As we talk about Covid-19 slowly becoming more of an endemic in the United States, word of two newly circulating variants is causing some concern.

One of those variants first reported in European countries is a hybrid being called ‘Deltacron’. “Yes, we are aware of this recombinant. it’s a combination of Delta variant and Omicron variant,” said Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead for Covid-19 at the World Health Organization.

Deltacron is now on WHO’s international radar.

“It’s been detected in France. It has been detected in the Netherlands. It’s been detected in Denmark, but there are very low levels of this detection,” said Dr. Van Kerkhove.

It’s so low that the study, which sequenced almost 30,000 covid-19 samples throughout the U.S., only found two cases of the so-called Deltacron hybrid in the nation.

“It sort of proves the point that if you let these things circulate long enough, you’ll find pieces and parts of various things,” said Dr. Dan Shirley, Interim Medical Director for Infection Prevention at UW-Health.

Right now, researchers say there’s no evidence Deltacron is more transmissible or severe. However, WHO said many studies are underway.

“Unfortunately, we do expect to see recombinants because this is what viruses do. They change over time. We’re seeing a very intense level of circulation. We are seeing this virus infect animals, with the possibility of infecting humans again. So again, the pandemic is far from over,” said Dr. Van Kerkhove.

As news of Deltacron spreads, another strain is back in circulation and catching doctors’ attention. It’s called the Stealth variant, which is the subvariant of the original omicron variant.

“That’s really what we’re watching, is that particular subvariant and how it sort of takes over for the original omicron,” said Dr. Shirley. “We know from previous variants, it really matters which variant or subvariant is becoming more predominant, and how they cause disease and how the vaccines and things work.”

“We cannot allow this virus to spread at such an intense level. It doesn’t mean locking people down or locking people in their homes. It means using simple tools and a layered approach,” said Dr. Van Kerkhove.

You can find one of those tools on the CDC’s website. It’s called the ‘U.S. Covid-19 Community Levels by County Map’. You can monitor covid-19 spread throughout the entire nation by clicking on individual states and counties. It will help you decide whether to change plans because of covid-19 or mask up because of spread.

Health officials say the only true way to monitor the spread or how the virus is mutating is through PCR testing and genome sequencing, which may have taken a hit with the rise of at-home tests.

“PCR testing will still kind of remain a main part of this, but you’re right that without that we really can’t sequence a certain amount or tell, you know, is it’s changing,” said Dr. Shirley.

“Testing remains absolutely critical. As part of the COVID-19 response, it’s about making sure that we have good testing, intelligent testing and strategic testing, not only to monitor the variance in virus evolution, but to ensure that people know what, know where the virus is, and to get the appropriate care that they need,” said Dr. Van Kerkhove.

Health officials say the only true way to monitor the spread or how the virus is mutating is through PCR testing and genome sequencing
As news of Deltacron spreads, another strain is back in circulation and catching doctors’ attention. It’s called the Stealth variant.

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