Deltacron and Flurona: Truth or Myth?

WHO warns that the use of the terms Deltacron and Flurona are misinformative and asks not to use them both.

Floating green cells of COVID variants

Foto: Freepik

LatinAmerican Post | Vanesa López Romero

A constant since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic has been the misinformation surrounding the disease and the vaccination processes that have preceded it. Two years after the pandemic began, this has still not changed. A clear example is the information that has circulated in recent days regarding Deltacron and Flurona.

Last week, doctors in Cyprus claimed to have found a new variant of the Coronavirus. The experts called it Deltacron because it is supposedly a combination of the already known Delta and Omicron variants. This generated fear as both variants are known to be the most lethal and the most contagious, respectively.

There has also been a rumor that there is a combination between the coronavirus and influenza viruses because many people have shown symptoms of COVID but have tested negative for the disease.

Truth or Myth?

Last Monday Maria Van Kerkhove, epidemiologist in Infectious Diseases and technical chief of the World Health Organization (WHO), asked through a tweet that these terms should not be used, since they can generate misinformation. Likewise, Van Kerkhove assured that it is most likely that both a combination between Delta and Omicron and between Influenza and Coronavirus does not exist.

First of all, it must be made clear that there can be two viruses or two variants in the same body at the same time. This is called co-infection and it is not the first time it happens. In fact, at the beginning of the pandemic it was very common to find patients with both Coronavirus and Influenza.

Also read: This is how Omicron advances in Latin America

On the other hand, the sequencing data of the supposed new variant found by the researchers and doctors of the University of Cyprus have been analyzed by experts and it seems to be a contamination that occurred in the laboratory and not a new variant that results as a combination of the two already mentioned. So, this would be traces of Omicron samples in Delta samples.

Meanwhile, Leondios Kostrikis, leader of the group of doctors who claim to have found the Deltacron variant, maintains his position and has defended himself from criticism, assuring that his finding is real and that it is not a mistake. According to the expert, it is not just a recombination, but an evolutionary system of the virus itself.

Although Kostrikis assures that this new variant does exist, the truth is that the body in charge of categorizing and reviewing COVID variants is the WHO, and as long as the organization does not give the green light, the "new variant" will not be accepted in the scientific community and in world health centers.

The problem is that fear has increased with the use of these terms, and it is very important to remember that health services should not be saturated in order to be able to attend to the people who need it most. For now, it is best to use terms that are accepted by bodies such as the WHO.