A new super-duper-scary variant could be created if Omicron and Delta infect someone at the same time and recombinate, Moderna’s chief medical officer warned British MPs on Tuesday (Dec. 14).
According to Dr. Paul Burton, the high numbers of Delta and Omicron cases currently circulating in the UK make it more likely to happen, and it could create the most dangerous SARS-CoV-2 variant the world has ever seen.
“That would be possible here [in the UK], particularly given the number of infections that we were seeing,” Burton said.
“It certainly gives the opportunity for the two viruses to, what we call, ‘recombinate.’ They can now begin to share genes and swap genes over.”
“So, the biology of Omicron and the situation we’re in, given the Delta pressure right now, is really important to think about,” he warned.