The combination of the Delta and Omicron Covid variants, which may result from a person contracting both at the same time, could create a new, more dangerous strain, Moderna’s chief medical officer Paul Burton has warned.
Talking to the House of Commons Technologies and Science Committee members on Tuesday, Burton said that simultaneously contracting the two variants “The opportunity to recombinate is certainly there for these viruses.,” which means that they could begin to “You can swap genes between your parents and you can also share the genes..”
The danger of this happening is particularly high in immunocompromised people, Burton said.When asked if the combination of the two strains could lead to worse Covid-19 symptoms than usual, Burton said that “You can.”
He added that in the current situation, with Omicron spreading so rapidly, and given the high number of the Delta infections, “It is important to consider it.”
Burton is not the only one to warn about the possibility of a Delta-Omicron mixture. On Wednesday, Aleksandr Semyonov, head of Russia’s Vector virology research center’s branch in the city of Ekaterinburg, said there exists a possibility of a person catching two strains of a virus at the same time.
This, however, is a “This rare event is quite remarkable,” Semyonov told RIA Novosti news agency.
“Different viruses can cause different effects on different organs.,” he added.
So far, no major pandemic has been linked to recombination. One case was widely reported in which a Belgian woman aged 90 died after she caught the Beta and Alfa variants.