(Bloomberg) -- A Cypriot scientist defended his assertion that a new strain of Covid-19 exists that combines characteristics of the delta and omicron variants.
Other scientists have speculated that Leonidos Kostrikis’s findings are a result of laboratory contamination. But he told Bloomberg in an emailed statement that the cases he has identified “indicate an evolutionary pressure to an ancestral strain to acquire these mutations and not a result of a single recombination event.”
Deltacron infection is higher among patients hospitalized for Covid-19 than among non-hospitalized patients, so that rules out the contamination hypothesis, said Kostrikis, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Cyprus and head of the Lsbortory of Biotechnology and Molecular Virology.
What’s more, the samples were processed in multiple sequencing procedures in more than one country. And at least one sequence from Israel deposited in a global database exhibits genetic characteristics of deltacron, he said.
“These findings refute the undocumented statements that deltacron is a result of a technical error,” Kostrikis said.
Health Minister Michael Hadjipantela said Sunday that the new variant isn’t of concern, and more details will be given at a news conference this week, Philenews reported.
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