COVID-19

Deltacron may not cause severe infection, but may have similar transmission rate – expert

Bonz Magsambol
Deltacron may not cause severe infection, but may have similar transmission rate – expert

BOOSTER. Vendors and other workers at the night market in Divisoria queue for their booster shot under Manila's vaccination program, January 5, 2022.

Rappler

'Well for now, the data are still limited... Personally, I believe that with this recombination, it will not affect much,' says Dr. Rontgene Solante

MANILA, Philippines – An infectious diseases specialist said on Friday, March 11, that the new coronavirus variant Deltacron may not cause severe infection, but may have similar transmission rate as Delta and Omicron variants.

“Well for now, the data are still limited. Hindi pa ganoon kalawak kung ano ang behavior ng combination ng Delta at Omicron (We still have limited information on the behavior of the combination of Delta and Omicron). Personally, I believe that with this recombination, it will not affect much. Hindi Ito masyado makadagdag ito sa virulence but may implication ito na ganoon pa rin sa transmission (This will not add on the virulence but it may have similar implications as to transmission),” Dr. Rontgene Solante said at the Laging Handa press briefing.

Solante is part of the Philippines’ vaccine expert panel. He heads the adult infectious diseases and tropical medicine unit at San Lazaro Hospital, and is former president of the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

“If the Delta is combined with Omicron, the Omicron has the more heavily mutations so titingnan natin kung ano ang mga mutations nito, kung ano mas marami (so we will see what the mutations are and which one has more mutations) and I will surmise [Omicron has more mutations] over that of the Delta. And if that’s the case, we will still be dealing with a more transmissible virus, just like the Omicron, but I doubt this will cause severe infections,” he said.

Hybrid versions of the coronavirus that combine genes from the Delta and Omicron variants – dubbed “Deltacron” – have been identified in at least 17 patients in the United States and Europe, researchers said.

Experts earlier said that Deltacron could be a result of a laboratory contamination and not a worrying variant.

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The Department of Health (DOH) said on Thursday, March 10, that there were no recorded cases of Deltacron in the country. “Our experts are still studying this,” the agency added.

The DOH said that global health agencies like the World Health Organization and the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) have not declared the Deltacron a new variant and have not commented on the matter.

After reeling from the surge in infections driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant, COVID-19 cases in the Philippines continue to decline, with infections staying below 1,000 for more than a week. – Rappler.com

Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.