No need to panic, says virologist on new recombinant variants of Covid

“Nothing to suggest at this moment that these recombinants have any additional advantage compared to Omicron,” Vinod Scaria, a scientist at the CSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, said on Twitter on Tuesday.
A healthcare worker collects a nasal sample of an International passenger for the COVID-19 test, at Indira Gandhi International Airport, in New Delhi. [Representational picture]
A healthcare worker collects a nasal sample of an International passenger for the COVID-19 test, at Indira Gandhi International Airport, in New Delhi. [Representational picture]File/ANI

New Delhi Feb 16: Days after clusters of recombinant Delta and Omicron variants of coronavirus were reported from across the world, a leading virologist said there was no need to panic at the moment.

“Nothing to suggest at this moment that these recombinants have any additional advantage compared to Omicron,” Vinod Scaria, a scientist at the CSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, said on Twitter on Tuesday.

Scaria said more epidemiological data was awaited as more genomes get reported from across the world.

He said that while recombinations in SARS-COV-2 are not as frequent as seen in influenza, there have been multiple recombination events reported in the Covid pandemic.

Some previously named lineages include XA (UK and India), XB (US) and XC (alpha+delta) in Japan, Scaria said.

On February 11, Britain had listed the Delta-Omicron recombinant variant of SARS-COV-2 under ‘signals currently under monitoring and investigation’.

Additional clusters of Delta-Omicron recombinant genomes have been reported from Queensland in Australia and another seven recombinants have been reported from the east coast of the US.

Recombination occurs when fragments of two different variants of a virus infect the same host cell.

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