An artist's rendering of the new hybrid variant.

An artist's rendering of the new hybrid variant. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

There are reported cases in Europe and the U.S. of a new variant of COVID-19 that combines both omicron and delta variant for the first time.

The new hybrid variant, unofficially dubbed "deltacron", was confirmed by scientists at IHU Méditerranée Infection in Marseille, France, and has been detected in several regions of France. According to the international database, there have been cases in The Netherlands. Two cases have been identified in the U.S. by the California-based genetics research company. According to The Guardian, about 30 cases have been identified in the U.K.

The hybrid variant arose from a process called recombination, in which two different strains of a virus are swapped for a new one. The backbone of the deltacron variant is derived from the delta variant, while the spikeprotein that enables the virus to enter host cells is derived from omicron, according to the medRxiv paper.

There have been 20 of the worst epidemics in history.

The chief scientist at the World Health Organization wrote on Tuesday that they have known for a long time that there can be multiple circulating versions of the same disease in humans and animals. The need to wait for experiments to determine the properties of the virus was highlighted by Swaminathan.

The new variant is believed to have been circulating in January.

Maria Von Kerkhove, the technical lead for the WHO, said in a press conference that scientists have not seen a change in the severity of the new variant compared to the past variant.

We do expect to see recombinants because they are what viruses do. Von Kerkhove said that they were seeing a very intense level of circulation of the virus.

It was originally published on Live Science.