New COVID-19 Variant Detected in Flanders

A new COVID-19 variant was discovered in West Flanders, with 18 recorded cases in AZ Delta Roeselare hospital.

AZ Delta lab in Flanders discovered the new variant called Combikron, a combination of two different Omicron sub-variant. 

“Since February 12, we have found 20 cases of the new variant. This out of a total of 1,300 samples. It is therefore a small number that is only detected in the Roeselare region,” said Geert Martens, doctor-specialist in clinical biology at AZ Delta in Roeselare.

Martens said that the new variant might have surfaced in February, when the two Omicron sub-variants, BA.2 and BA.1.1 were spreading in West Flanders.

“If someone coughs in your face, and two hours later someone else does it again, you can become infected with two variants at the same time,” Martens said.

Experts said that there is no need to panic over the new variant. 

“”There are no indications that the new variant is more contagious. It’s very occasional and we’re keeping an eye on it. There is therefore no reason to panic,” said Martens.

According to Martens, the discovery of the Combikron proved that the Belgian system which detects corona variants functions optimally.

AZ Delta lab sent samples of the new variant Thursday to the reference center for Covid-19 at KU Leuven for reanalysis and confirmation of the new variant.

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