Don't count out delta just yet

Omicron dominates the coronavirus landscape in the U.S., accounting for 99.9 percent of cases for the week ending Jan. 22. Still, experts are wary of dismissing delta as no longer a concern just yet, The Atlantic reported Jan. 27. 

While omicron's dominance makes a mighty comeback of delta unlikely, "I would certainly not bet on delta disappearing," Lisa Gralinski, PhD, virologist at the University of Chapel Hill, told the publication. 

Although unlikely, a number of scenarios are still possible, especially as a large portion of the world's population remains unvaccinated, "which means it's worth preparing for them," wrote author Katherine Wu. 

There is a chance that descendants of delta, which is thought to be the deadliest variant thus far and is still dominant in some parts of the world, "could very well preserve or even build upon its very lethal bite while picking up new tricks that bamboozle our immune system," Ms. Wu wrote.

Katie Gostic, PhD, an infectious-disease modeler at the University of Chicago, said delta could morph into something that catches up with omicron, allowing the two to tag-team. This situation opens the door to the possibility of the two combining their genomes to form a "nasty hybrid offspring." 

Delta's brutality plus omicron's stealth would equal bad news, Ms. Wu wrote. 

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