After first being detected by French scientists early this year after cases in Cyrpus, Deltacron has now been confirmed as a Covid-19 variant. Containing elements of both Delta and Omicron strains, there have also been reports of the mutation being detected in the US and Britain, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the first case of person-to-person transmission.
Professor Adrian Esterman, an epidemiologist formerly of the World Health Organization (WHO), told ABC news, that although the new sub-variant is not more severe than Omicron, it is more transmissible, saying: “That means we’re going to see case numbers skyrocketing. ”
Due to the small numbers of Deltacron cases, there is not enough data to properly assess the severity of the variant nor how well existing vaccines protect against it. However, the UKHSA and health minister Sajid Javid have cooled fears that another surge of cases could be on the way.
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“There are variants that we would obviously keep under review,” Mr Javid said. “There are also so-called subvariants of Omicron” of which Deltacron is one, but he says “we’re not concerned about any of those at this important time”.
He added: “The most recent one of concern has been Omicron but we have successfully navigated our way through that as a country, thanks to the response of the British people.”
The news of Deltacron’s confirmation comes as China register consecutive days of record Covid cases, the most since the start of the pandemic. This has seen 30 million residents in 13 different cities being forced into lockdown. Major manufacturing sites have also been closed down due to illness, which will see a shortage of products being exported to the West.
According to the NHS, the symptoms that people should be aware of remain the same as for other Coronavirus variants:
- At high temperatures – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- A new or continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
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