Variant of Deltacron COVID-19 reported in US and Europe; dogs detect virus with high accuracy

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Here is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that deserves further study to corroborate the findings and that has not yet been certified by peer review.

“Deltacron” with delta and omicron genes found


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.

Because there have been so few confirmed cases, it’s too early to know whether deltacron infections will be highly transmissible or cause severe disease, said Philippe Colson of IHU Méditerranée Infection in Marseille, France, lead author of a report published on Tuesday on medRxiv before peer review. His team described three patients in France infected with a version of SARS-CoV-2 that combines the spike protein of an omicron variant with the “body” of a delta variant. Two other unrelated deltacron infections have been identified in the United States, according to an unpublished report from genetics research firm Helix that was submitted to medRxiv and seen by Reuters. On virus research bulletin boards, other teams have reported 12 additional deltacron infections in Europe since January – all with an omicron peak and a delta body.

The word “COVID-19” is reflected in a drop on a syringe needle in this illustration taken November 9, 2020.
(REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration)

Genetic recombinations of human coronaviruses are known to occur when two variants infect the same host cell. “During the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, two or more variants co-circulated during the same time periods and in the same geographic areas…This created opportunities for recombination between these two variants,” Colson said. , adding that his team has designed a PCR test that “can quickly test positive samples for the presence of this… virus.”

Dogs sniff out coronavirus with great precision

New research adds to the evidence that trained dogs could help scout crowds to identify people infected with the coronavirus.


At two community testing centers in Paris, 335 volunteers undergoing traditional PCR tests also provided sweat samples. A total of 78 people with symptoms and 31 people without symptoms tested positive by PCR. Given the sweat samples to smell, the dogs were 97% accurate at detecting infected patients and 100% accurate at detecting infection in asymptomatic patients, according to a report published on Tuesday on medRxiv before peer review. They were also 91% accurate in identifying volunteers who were not infected and 94% in ruling out infection in people without symptoms.

“The canine tests are non-invasive and provide immediate and reliable results,” the authors said. “Further studies will focus on direct dog sniffer to assess sniffer dogs for mass pre-testing at airports, ports, train stations, cultural activities or sporting events.”

Future variants of concern likely lurk in today’s patients

The many coronavirus particles inside an infected person likely include some mutates that may turn out to be early examples of important variants, new findings suggest.

By closely analyzing virus particles obtained from 10 people with infections attributed to the Alpha variant in Spain in April 2021, researchers identified some mutated particles resembling the omicron variant, which was only formally identified seven months ago. later. They also found mutations characteristic of a form of delta and Iota, according to a report published on Tuesday in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. Although identifying an individual patient’s dominant variant may be sufficient for diagnostic purposes, the “ultra-deep” genetic sequencing used in this study could help scientists track mutations in SARS-CoV- particles. 2 that could evolve into worrying variants, the researchers said.


“The virus that replicates in each infected patient is actually a mix of slightly different SARS-CoV-2 viruses,” and these different viruses represent varying proportions of the “full set,” said co-author Celia Perales. from the Autonomous University of Madrid. Minority variants in one infected individual may become dominant in someone else, either by chance or due to a selective advantage related to the presence or absence of drugs, vaccines or other factors, she said.


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