Deltacron ‘Not Really A Thing’, Result Of Contamination During Sequencing Process: WHO

New Delhi: With the people across the globe wary of the highly infectious Omicron variant amid the surge in Covid-19 cases, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said “Deltacron” is a result of contamination that has happened during the sequencing process.

Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead, said this phrase “Deltacron”, which suggests that Delta and Omicron have combined, is not really a thing.

“In fact, what we think that is, is that it’s a result of contamination that has happened during the sequencing process. Having said that, you can be infected with different strains of SARS-CoV-2. What you can do to minimise your exposure to both SARS-CoV-2 and influenza, this will benefit you,” said Kerkhove explaining the possibilities of coinfection.

“For those of you that are eligible for a flu vaccine, please also get your flu vaccination,” she added in her message posted on the WHO’s Twitter handle.

Stating there were examples of coinfection with influenza and SARS-CoV-2 throughout this pandemic, Kerkhove said: “There was a recent systematic review that was published that looked at the prevalence of this. They also looked at whether or not people had more severe disease if they were infected with both and what that review found was that they didn’t have more severe disease.”

“But we have to see what happens with Omicron and influenza as influenza starts to circulate again. As people are coming together and as flu starts to circulate we’re starting to see increasing numbers of influenza around the world and that can happen out of season,” she added.

Mike Ryan of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme on his part said having both infections at the same time shouldn’t result in a more severe disease for an individual.

“But what it does allow is the opportunity for the virus to recombine and that can happen. It happens more in animals than it does in humans but it can certainly happen. There is a process called recombination where you can have a very rapid exchange if a single human cell is infected with two different variants of the virus,” said Ryan.

“So there are good reasons to avoid any infection with SARS-CoV-2 and probably even better reasons to try and avoid double infection or having a coinfection but I haven’t seen any data to suggest that coinfection in you as an individual has any consequence for making it more severe,” he added.

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