First report of a SARS-CoV-2 variant with an ORF7a deletion that dominated an outbreak

In a recent study posted to the medRxiv* preprint server, researchers in Australia determined whether severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Delta-ORF7aΔ17del [open reading frame 7a protein with 17-nucleotide (nt) frameshift-inducing deletion] variant has a fitness advantage over the Delta variant lacking the ORF7aΔ17del deletion (Delta-ORF7aintact) and/or the SARS-CoV-2 lineage (A.2.2).