Researchers at the Pasteur Institute in France have reported the first strong evidence of recombination of delta and omicron variables in Corona virus disease. Such an event is not a cause for concern, at least not yet.
Recombination data have been published in GISAID, the international database in which they are deposited. genome Viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2 variants.
According to GISAID itself, the recombinant virus has been circulating since January in several regions of France and there are discoveries of genome Similar in Denmark and the Netherlands (it is not yet known whether they are descended from a single ancestor).
In a Twitter post on Tuesday (8), Maria Van Kerkhove, an epidemiologist and technical lead for the World Health Organization (WHO) for Covid-19, said this kind of recombination is expected with the intense spread of the Variables Omicron and Delta and that the WHO team is following up and discussing the matter.
At the end of February, experts had discussed this topic in a question-and-answer session of the World Health Organization. At the time, Kerkhove reassured people about the events of recombination and explained that this process is essentially combining “cuts” of one variable with “cuts” of another.
“I don’t want to scare people with the idea of recombination,” Kerkhove said on February 22. “Maybe we’ll start to see recombinations. It could happen, but it could be a reflection of better monitoring.”
On the same occasion, Lorenzo Sobisi, a scientist at the World Health Organization, stated that coronaviruses are known to recombine. “We see this a lot in bats,” he said. “The more the virus spreads, the greater the chance of these events occurring.”
Sobesi stated that recombination should be thought of in the same way as mutations, which happen all the time, and which do not necessarily have an effect on the functioning of the virus.
A recombinant virus will not necessarily have a competitive advantage, says Anderson Brito, a virologist and researcher at the Todos pela Saúde Institute. “So, so far, that’s not a major concern.”
However, the virologist points out that recombination processes are relatively rare and difficult to detect. Three recombinant strains have already been described during the pandemic, he said, with recombinations of B.1.634 and B.1.631 (commonly known as strain XB) being the most prevalent, particularly in the United States and Mexico. At the moment, it is very difficult to find.
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