A new strain of the coronavirus has been discovered, reportedly combining the Delta and Omicron variants.
Scientists in Cyprus claim to have found a new strain they are calling Deltacron, due to the identification of Omicron-like genetic signatures within the Delta genomes, Bloomberg reports.
Leondios Kostrikis, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Cyprus and head of the Laboratory of Biotechnology and Molecular Virology, told Sigma TV: “There are currently Omicron and Delta co-infections and we found this strain that is a combination of these two.”
Professor Kostrikis and his team have identified 25 such cases and the statistical analysis shows that the relative frequency of the combined infection is higher among patients hospitalised due to Covid, compared to those that are not hospitalised.
The sequences of the 25 Deltacron cases were sent to GISAID on Friday, the international database that tracks changes in the virus.
The Professor added: “We will see in the future if this strain is more pathological or more contagious or if it will prevail.”
He believes however that this strain will be displaced by the highly contagious Omicron variant.
Scientists have also reported two new unexpected symptoms that patients who have tested positive with the Omicron variant have been experiencing recently.
These are pink eye (otherwise known as conjunctivitis) and hair loss.
Scientists have explained the occurrence of pink eye as the Omicron variant impacts the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which is found in the eyes and can happen within two days of contracting the variant.
Hair loss is more likely to happen towards the end of the infection, as more hairs enter the “shedding” phase after someone has had a fever.