The scientist from Cyprus credited with discovering the new COVID variant Deltacron is defending his findings after other researchers have claimed they were a result of laboratory contamination.

Scientist Leonidos Kostrickis, who is a professor of biological sciences at the University of Cyprus and head of the Laboratory of Biotechnology and Molecular Virology, announced over the weekend that he detected the Deltacron mutation -- a COVID strain that combines the Delta and Omicron variants.

In a statement to Bloomberg, Kostrickis said the cases that he has identified “indicate an evolutionary pressure to an ancestral strain to acquire these mutations and not a result of a single recombination event.”

Kostrickis went on to tell the news outlet that contamination claims are false due to the fact that Deltacron infections are higher among hospitalized patients than those who are not hospitalized for COVID-19.

Kostrickis also said the variant samples were processed in multiple sequencing procedures in multiple countries, with at least one sequence from Israel deposited in a global database showing characteristics of Deltacron, he told Bloomberg.

“These findings refute the undocumented statements that Deltacron is a result of a technical error,” Kostrickis said.

Scientists such as World Health Organization COVID expert Dr. Krutika Kuppalli, according to CNBC, claimed that the Deltacron variant was a result of “lab contamination,” saying on Twitter that Omicron fragments got into a Delta specimen.

The Deltacron variant, according to Kostrickis, has so far been found in 25 patients, but it is too early to determine if it is more contagious or deadly than other COVID variants.

Cypriot Health Minister Michael Hadjipantela said that more details about the Deltacron variant will be provided at a news conference this week, Philenews reported.

The Omicron Covid variant has prompted US firms to get tough on vaccines and masks
The Omicron Covid variant has prompted US firms to get tough on vaccines and masks AFP / Frederic J. BROWN