After a scientist in Cyprus claimed that his team has identified a new Covid variant being dubbed as ‘Deltacron‘, a UK-based virologist has termed it a “lab contamination” and not a new strain.
Tom Peacock, a virologist at the Imperial College London, said that the Cypriot ‘Deltacron’ sequences reported by several large media outlets look to be quite clearly”contaminated:
“When new variants come through sequencing lab contamination isn’t that uncommon (very very tiny volumes of liquid can cause this)-just usually these fairly clearly contaminated sequences are not reported by major media outlets,” Peacock said in a Twitter thread on Sunday.
According to him, Omicron has likely not circulated for long enough, in a large enough population, to produce a true recombinant.
True recombinants don’t tend to appear until a few weeks/months after there’s been substantial co-circula tion. “We’re only a couple of weeks into Omicron – I really doubt there are any prevalent recombinants yet,” he said. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has not commented on this development yet. The genetic details of Deltacron’ published on the GISAID database also do not resemble a recombinant.