Scientists have their eyes on several 'Deltacrons'—new COVID variants with the potential to attack the lungs like Delta and spread as easily as Omicron

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  revillug  •  4 weeks ago  •  5 comments

By:   YahooFinance

Scientists have their eyes on several 'Deltacrons'—new COVID variants with the potential to attack the lungs like Delta and spread as easily as Omicron
The so-called Deltacron variant is back this fall, with the potential to be the next big thing in COVID viral evolution, scientists say.

In a worst-case scenario, a Delta-Omicron hybrid could be as deadly as the Delta variant—which killed about 3.4% of those it infected, nearly double the fatality rate of Omicron, according to a 2022 study published in Nature Reviews Immunology. It could also feature the record-setting transmissibility of Omicron.


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Erin Prater November 1, 2022, 5:00 AM·4 min read

Earlier this year, all eyes were on "Deltacron"—a Frankenvirus, of sorts, that combined Delta and Omicron, and potentially the worst traits of both.

The initial strain, reported in January, failed to take flight. Reports of additional Delta-Omicron hybrids, in multiple locations across the globe, later emerged, then fizzled.

But in the waning days of 2022, the Deltacron phenomenon is back—if it ever left. This time it's in the form of new COVID variants XBC, XAY, and XAW.

In a worst-case scenario, a Delta-Omicron hybrid could be as deadly as the Delta variant—which killed about 3.4% of those it infected, nearly double the fatality rate of Omicron, according to a 2022 study published in Nature Reviews Immunology . It could also feature the record-setting transmissibility of Omicron.

Predicting the severity of such a strain is difficult because scientists aren't sure exactly why Omicron seems to cause less severe disease in many people, when compared to Delta.

XBC—a combination of Delta and "stealth Omicron" BA.2 circulating in Asian countries like the Philippines—has the greatest potential in the group for transmission, variant tracker Raj Rajnarayanan, assistant dean of research and associate professor at the New York Institute of Technology campus in Jonesboro, Ark., tells Fortune. It's been identified in the U.S. but only in seven cases so far, mainly from California.

Because XBC contains the viral body of Delta and the spike protein of Omicron, it's less likely to combine the easy transmissibility of Omicron with the deadly penchant of Delta to hide out in the lungs, experts say.

https://twitter.com/PeacockFlu/status/1576611299362242561

But they caution that scientists don't fully understand why COVID morphed from a lower-respiratory disease in the days of, and prior to, Delta, to a less severe upper-respiratory disease for many in the era of Omicron. The shift may involve changes outside the spike protein, which the virus uses to attach to and infect human cells. If so, it's anyone's best guess how future Deltacrons—even with Omicron spike proteins—will present in terms of symptoms.

Little is known about XBC, including what its symptoms are. Scientists are aware, however, that the new variant has spawned additional variants, Rajnarayanan points out.

Far less is known about XAY and XAW, first reported in South Africa and Russia, respectively. Other Deltacrons reported earlier this year, including XD in France and XS in the U.S., never took off, perhaps because they were less transmissible than "stealth Omicron."

https://twitter.com/PeacockFlu/status/1510233229982416896

Regardless of how these Deltacrons play out this fall, there's always potential for another.

While Delta is rarely reported these days, it's still being found in some places overseas, like China. And persistent infections in immunocompromised people—who may not be aware that they're immunocompromised or that they have a long-term infection—may mean Delta lives on, undetected, in patients worldwide.

In animals, Delta variants—with the potential to transmit back to the human population—have been reported in more than half of U.S. states, usually in deer and mink. While the bulk of Delta infections in animals have been detected in North America, they've also been reported in Lithuania, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Poland, Latvia, the Netherlands, Canada, South Africa, and additional countries.

A combination of Delta and Omicron is "not automatically worse," cautions Ryan Gregory, a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.

Delta's ability to dodge the immune system—which pales in comparison to that of the latest Omicron strains—in combination with Omicron severity isn't an altogether horrible prospect. It's not nearly as bad as that of a Deltacron with Delta's severity and Omicron's transmissibility and immune-escape capabilities, he said.

Scientists this fall are also keeping an eye on Delta strain AY.103, which picked up some mutations present in some Omicron strains as it evolved in mink and deer.

Such a variant—transmitted by the animals or immunocompromised patients it developed in—has the potential to be the next "big thing" in coronavirus evolution, the likes of which haven't been seen since Omicron burst onto the scene roughly a year ago.

"An American 'Pi' might pop up like this," Rajnarayanan said, referring to the potential of AY.103 or a similar strain of Delta—different enough from Omicron to be granted its own Greek letter name by the World Health Organization—to rise to prominence.

This story was originally featured on Fortune.com


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Revillug
Freshman Guide
1  seeder  Revillug    4 weeks ago

I haven't been able to share this story with many people, but over the Christmas holidays in 2021 I came down with a nasty virus. I know where I caught it. We had a Christmas party in my apartment building and I was talking to a neighbor who originally said he didn't want to come and join the party because he didn't want to spread whatever virus it was that he had. The party was near his apartment door and he eventually changed his mind. I must have spent a half hour talking to him. And you know what happened next..I came down with a respiratory virus.

The thing about this virus was it had a lot in common with what we would later recognize to be Covid. It started in the nose and crawled to your throat and then you wound up with a cough. It didn't feel quite like a cold or even the flu so I started Googling and concluded it was adenovirus. Of course I was probably wrong, but that's not the point.

For some reason while I was sick with this virus a thought occurred to me: What would happen if the common cold ever developed a lethal payload? 

I never had that thought before in my life and I had it on Christmas Eve of 2021. By February and March of 2022 much of the world was in lockdown because we had an outbreak of coronavirus that was killing a lot of people. (Other coronaviruses cause the common cold.)

I'm not saying this is some sort of paranormal thing. It's just weird for me when I think about it. We are all intuitive beings and you never know exactly why your right brain has decided to tell your left brain something. Your right brain is the neural network that takes in all these clues around you and then decides to scare the shit out of you with a nightmare. And if you are wise, you meditate on that nightmare.

So that's my "why the fuck was I thinking about a novel virus pandemic?" right before we had a "novel virus pandemic" story.

 
 
 
bccrane
Freshman Silent
1.1  bccrane  replied to  Revillug @1    4 weeks ago
I never had that thought before in my life and I had it on Christmas Eve of 2021. By February and March of 2022 much of the world was in lockdown because we had an outbreak of coronavirus that was killing a lot of people. (Other coronaviruses cause the common cold.) I'm not saying this is some sort of paranormal thing.

I believe you need to change your years by at least 2 years.  My family and I just went through the last variant, basically a mild flu, my older brother who has almost all the morbidity problems got through it like I did, my 92 year old father just a running nose, my wife and son the same as me.

Like me just embrace the paranormal thing, I have had so many dreams come true as to not ignore that it is a real phenomena and on top of that I have told some to my wife and son that later came true that they believe it also.

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
1.1.1  seeder  Revillug  replied to  bccrane @1.1    4 weeks ago

Yes, it was Xmas of 2019 and early 2020.

What a long strange trip it’s been.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2  sandy-2021492    4 weeks ago

I heard yesterday that one of our local nursing homes has 23 residents who have Covid.  None of our nursing homes are very large, so that's a pretty significant percentage.  We had been seeing low transmission rates, but here we go again, it seems.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
3  Greg Jones    4 weeks ago

Two years ago today I was in the middle of an 8 day hospital stay for Covid. "Luckily", the only lasting effect was it made my COPD somewhat worse, so I need oxygen therapy, but I'm able to remain active....albeit at a slower pace.

Covid variations will likely be with us long term, so this story is encouraging....

 
 

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