21 May 2024

In December and January, Thailand detected 73 cases of suspected “Deltacron”, a broad name describing variants of the COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) that contain a mixture of mutations found in Delta and Omicron, but all the patients have recovered, said Medical Sciences Department Director-General Dr. Supakit Sirilak today (Wednesday).

He said virologists at the department have decoded the genetic makeup of all the 73 cases and found they could be Deltacron cases, but results of the findings have been sent to GISAID, a global science initiative and primary source headquartered in Germany, for confirmation.

When the 73 suspected Deltacron cases were detected, Dr. Supakit explained that the Delta variant was still being found in small numbers of patients, hence, there were possibilities that Delta could combine with Omicron.

Since Omicron has now become the dominant variant, accounting for 99.95% of all new COVID-19 cases, he said that there is little chance of Deltacron emerging and it will soon disappear, like the Beta variant, if it does not spread quickly.

At this stage, there are no signs that Deltacron will supplant Omicron as the dominant variant, he said, adding that Deltacron is regarded by the World Health Organization as a variant being monitored.

Of the 1,981 COVID-19 cases monitored by the Medical Sciences Department between March 12th and 18th, only one Delta case was found, accounting for 0.05%, while the rest were Omicron cases.

Of all the Omicron cases, he said the BA.2 sub variant accounted for 78.5% of Omicron cases, a steady increase from 51% and 67.6% respectively.

Despite more cases of the BA.2 sub variant, he noted that symptoms are not severe.

Dr. Supakit said that random tests for sub variants of Omicron had been conducted on different groups of people, such as medical personnel, those with low CT (cycle threshold value), clusters, overseas travellers and those with severe symptoms.

The findings show that infection rates of the BA.2 variant do not differ much between groups, which means that BA.2 does not cause more fatalities among the infected.