As cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus are being reported in the US and Europe and rising in India, reports about "Delmicron" have emerged over the last few days.
A member of the Covid-19 task force in Maharashtra has said there is a possibility that the West is caught between twin spikes of the Delta and the Omicron variants of the coronavirus.
"Delmicron, the twin spikes of Delta and Omicron, in Europe and US has led to a mini tsunami of cases," Dr Shashank Joshi was quoted as saying by a leading newspaper.
The highly contagious Omicron variant was first detected last month in southern Africa and has now been reported in 89 countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
What is Delmicron?
Delmicron is not a new variant of the coronavirus but the Delta and the Omicron strains together fuelling Covid-19 cases.
Data shows Omicron is the more dominant variant in the US and accounts for 73% of all new cases, up from less than 1% at the beginning of the month.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said the Delta variant was responsible for more than 99.5% of the Covid-19 infections in the US last month.
Meanwhile, health officials in Texas said on Monday the state recorded what ABC News reported is believed to be the first known US death related to Omicron.
In the United Kingdom, daily cases of Covid-19 surpassed the 100,000-mark for the first time on Wednesday, even as preliminary studies published in the country and South Africa show Omicron is not severe as other variants of the coronavirus.
Experts on Delmicron
Doctors say people with a weak immune system, the elderly and ones with comorbidities are at higher risk of getting infected with the Delta and Omicron variants, simultaneously, according to a report. It added that areas with low vaccinations rates are also at risk.
However, health experts are divided on whether the combination of the two variants can lead to a super strain.
Moderna's chief medical officer Dr Paul Burton said it was possible that both the strains can swap genes and trigger a more dangerous variant.
"There's certainly data, there have been some papers published again from South Africa earlier from the pandemic when people - and certainly immunocompromised people - can harbour both viruses," Burton was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
Other researchers have also warned that such "recombination events" are extremely rare but possible if conditions are right and there is a coincidence of mostly uncontrollable events.
In an interview with Bloomberg earlier this month, Peter White, a virologist at the University of New South Wales, also warned about the possibility of a super strain.