Javid says fourth dose of Covid jab is ‘under review’

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The new strain, a mix of the Delta and Omicron variants has already seen around 30 cases reported in Britain. Medical experts and scientists are now warning the severity of Delta combined with the infectiousness of Omicron could be an issue, but also credit a growing immunity to the virus as a positive.

The origins of the new variant are believed to have appeared in France where an elderly male was tested and found to have different virus patterns to previous examples.

The findings were reported by the Institute Pasteur in Paris.

Results indicated most of the genetic patterns of the sample matched those displayed by the Delta variant.

However, some of the so-called spike proteins, the part of the virus used to enter cells inside the body, showed signs of the Omicron version.

The new strain appears to have already spread across several European countries.

Over 60 cases of the mutated variant have now been reported in France, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United States.

Even more concerning is the notion Deltacron has its own variations within.

Scientists at the Institute Pasteur have hinted the strains found in the UK and the US appear to have slightly different coding to those found in Europe.

The researchers have suggested adding a number to each strain to separate and identify them individually.

The blending of such viruses is not uncommon and is known as recombination.

This phenomenon appears to happen at random when viruses replicate.

It means both are circulating in the population and there’s a chance for them to simultaneously infect people – the chance of recombination happening increases.

This will have been the situation as omicron emerged to displace delta as the most dominant form worldwide.

Recombination usually creates a new virus that isn’t viable, as the mixing of different genes can interfere with the virus’s ability to make the proteins it needs to survive.

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There is also another strain known as the “stealth variant”.

The better known of the two variants, this is a direct sub-lineage of Omicron also known as BA.2 (Omicron was BA.1) and first discovered in the UK in December.

The UKHSA currently labels it a “variant under investigation” rather than a variant of concern.

But sometimes one does survive, and that appears to be what’s happened with Deltacron.

Writing about the new strain on Twitter, Professor Adrian Esterman, a former World Health Organisation epidemiologist said: “The basic reproduction number…for BA.2 is about 12.

“This makes it pretty close to measles, the most contagious disease we know about.”

Although figures are relatively low for the Deltacron variant, the more widely known Stealth Omicron paints a different picture.

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In England, it is said to have accounted for 57 percent of the 27,000 new cases recorded in the final week of February, while in the US it is thought to make up 23.1 percent of all cases.

Surges in China, Hong Kong and South Korea, where there is far less natural immunity, are thought to be down to both the original Omicron and Stealth.

Doctors warn just by sheer force of numbers and greater transmissibility ultimately means more serious infections and more deaths.

In Britain, case numbers have risen by more than half a million in the last week, yet, very few of the cases are being referred to hospitals.

It remains unclear as to whether the surge in cases is directly related to the new variant, or due to the easing of restrictions across the country.

Britain has now scrapped many restrictions, including testing and isolation when arriving from abroad, as well as passenger locator forms.

Of the 20.4 million reported cases of coronavirus in Britain, around 164,000 have led to death.

141 million vaccines have been given in the UK, with 73.4 percent of the population fully vaccinated.

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