A new corona variant has been proven in Cyprus. It should be a mixture of the delta and omicron variants. Assistant director of health Espen Nakstad takes the news of the variant calmly.
A research group in Cyprus has discovered a new variant of the coronavirus that is supposed to be a combination of the delta and omicron variant, reported Cypriot Sigma Live Friday.
– There are currently omicron and delta infections, and we found this variant which is a combination of these two, said Professor Leondios Kostrikos at the University of Cyprus at the time.
He gave the new variant the nickname “delta crown” due to the identification of omicron-like genetic characteristics in the participant genomes.
The research group has so far identified 25 such cases.
“We have found a significant number of mutations that have previously only been found in omicron cases, and which are different from the other variants, because its genome has 30 mutations,” said Kostrikos.
– Omikron has mutated more
Assistant health director Espen Rostrup Nakstad does not seem particularly worried about the new variant when he talks to VG on Sunday morning.
– It is not so much more surprising than that it is the delta variant that has mutated, but not as much as omikron, says Nakstad.
He calls the variant an “intermediate matter that has mutated a lot” and suggests that it has an estimated tens of mutations.
– But omikron has mutated more; it has almost 50 known mutations, he continues.
At the same time, Nakstad emphasizes that such mutations occur all the time.
– And maybe there have been several such steps before we came to omikron elsewhere in the world. But it only shows that the delta variant has changed a lot, and now we have another variant that you are aware of.
See what Nakstad says about «delta crown»:
Professor Kostrikos in Cyprus believes it is too early to say how the new variant will possibly affect the world.
– Time will tell if it is more contagious or if it will lead us more easily out of the pandemic.
But personally, Kostrikos believes that the new variant will be outcompeted by omikron.
Nakstad also says that at present it is not possible to know whether the variant is more contagious than previous variants.
– It is not necessarily more contagious than omicron. The researchers who have mapped the variant in Cyprus, conclude that it probably does not have properties that are more contagious than omicron, and that it may not be a threat to omicron in that way, he says.
– Can be large dark numbers
Of the 25 people who have so far been diagnosed with the variant, eleven have been admitted to hospital.
– We can say that the connection between the delta crown and hospital admissions is not accidental, said the Cypriot professor.
But here Nakstad believes that there may be several hidden factors that affect the numbers, and which means that the number of hospitalized is not necessarily as alarming as it may first sound like.
– It can be big dark numbers here. There may be more people who are infected with this variant than you know about, he says, he says.
– So it does not really say much, he also told Dagbladet when asked about the number of hospitalized versus the number of proven cases.
According to Bloomberg, the Cypriot researchers have submitted their findings to the international GISAID database that monitors viruses.
According to Dagbladet, the Greek health authorities will also hold a press conference on the variant for the week.