Best Treatment for COVID-19 Deltacron Variant?

On March 9, the World Health Organization (WHO) addressed a new variant of COVID-19, dubbed "deltacron," made from a combination of genes found in the highly transmissible delta and omicron COVID variants. In a media briefing, infectious-disease epidemiologist and WHO's COVID technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove, PhD, referred to the combination as a "recombinant." It's to be expected, she said, because of the "intense amount of circulation that we saw with both omicron and delta," and in some countries, at the same time. She did not outright call it "deltacron" by name.

The 'deltacron' strain is a combination of the Delta and Omicron variants and is assumed to have come from a person infected with both.

Dr Soumya Swaminathan, the chief scientist at the World Health Organization (WHO) tweeted, "We have known that recombinant events can occur, in humans or animals, with multiple circulating variants of #SARSCoV2."

The emergence of such a recombinant should not be a surprise, as Maria Van Kerkhove, PhD, who’s the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) technical lead for the COVID-19 response, tweeted:

The Deltacron name first emerged in early January 2022. As Lisa Kim reported for Forbes back then, Leondios Kostrikis, professor of biological sciences at the University of Cyprus, and his team indicated that they had discovered a new version of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that combined characteristics of the Delta and Omicron variants. They had detected this version in samples taken from 25 patients with Covid-19 in Cyprus, 11 of whom were hospitalized at the time. The research team dubbed this new version the “Deltacron” variant, as a combination of the words “Delta” and “Omicron,” perhaps because the “Delta” variant had emerged earlier than the “Omicron” variant.

The Delta variant (also referred to as B.1.617.2) of COVID-19 was initially identified in India in December 2020 and was first detected in the United States in March 2021. 

COVID-19 Deltacron Variant Treatment?

Since the Deltacron variant is newly discovered, there's little evidence to prove whether any treatment is effective against this variant.

According to WHO, individuals are reminded to take measures to reduce their risk of COVID-19, including proven public health and social measures such as wearing well-fitting masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing, improving ventilation of indoor spaces, avoiding crowded spaces, and getting vaccinated.

The Deltacron variant combines the characteristics of the Delta and Omicron variants. Experimental antiviral pills - such as Pfizer Inc's (PFE.N) Paxlovid and Merck & Co Inc's (MRK.N) molnupiravir - target parts of the virus that are not changed in Deltacron. They might work as effectively against the new variant because these drugs do not target the spike protein – they work by stopping the virus from replicating. 

Theoretically, drugs that target parts of the virus that are not changed in Deltacron (Delta + Omicron) such as antivirals like Molnupiravir and Paxlovid might still work. As mentioned above, they will work as effectively against the new variant because these drugs do not target the spike protein – they work by stopping the virus from replicating. 

The FLCCC protocol and Deltacron variant

The Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Working Group (FLCCC) has developed their latest I-MASK+ protocol (Jan 19, 2022 version) for early treatment for both the Delta and Omicron variants.

Specifically, they recommend hydroxychloroquine (preferred for Omicron) and ivermectin as first line anti-viral agents:
  • Ivermectin: 0.4–0.6 mg/kg per dose (take with or after meals) — one dose daily, take for 5 days or until recovered. (Find a Doctor). Use upper dose range if:  1) in regions with more aggressive variants (e.g. Delta); 2) treatment started on or after day 5 of symptoms or in pulmonary phase; or 3) multiple comorbidities/risk factors. (Ref)
  • Hydroxychloroquine (preferred for Omicron): 200mg PO twice daily; take for 5 days or until recovered. (Find a Doctor)
Most of the other component treatments in the I-MASK+ protocol have various mode of actions and may not be affected by the changes in the Deltacron variant.

Dr Pierre Kory, FLCCC Co-Chief Medical Officer tweeted, "As we have known since the early days of this pandemic, early treatment is the most effective way to prevent a COVID-19 infection from becoming severe. The FLCCC's prevention and treatment protocols remain effective."


Key Takeaways

The most important takeaway is to start treatment 'early'. As soon as you have symptoms, consult your healthcare provider and start treatment as early as possible. If treatment is delayed i.e. after 5 days of symptoms, your chances of severe COVID are higher.

For post-covid or long covid syndrome, check out FLCCC I-Recover Post-COVID ProtocolFor a simplified version of the I-MASK+ protocol, the FLCCC has also developed the I-MASS protocol.


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