WHO warns about new Covid variant ‘XE’

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a warning against a new mutant ‘XE’ variant of Omicron, that may be more transmissible than any strain of Covid-19 seen before.

This new variant is a recombinant strain, meaning it is a mutant hybrid of the two previous versions of the Omicron variant, BA.1 and BA.2, which spread across the world when it first became a variant of concern, reports Express.co .uk.

According to reports, the new variant is 10 per cent more transmissible than the BA.2 subvariant, which is already the most contagious. As per the WHO, BA.2, which is a subvariant of the Omicron strain, is the most dominant strain of the virus, being 86 per cent of all sequenced cases attributed to it.

While XE only accounts for a small fraction of the cases, its extremely high transmissibility could mean that it becomes the most dominant strain in the near future.

The WHO has recently issued a report outlining their initial findings of this potentially new variant of concern.

“The XE recombinant (BA.1-BA.2), was first detected in the UK on January 19 and less than 600 sequences have been reported and confirmed since,” the report said.

“Early-day estimates indicate a community growth rate advantage of 10 percent as compared to BA.2, however, this finding requires further confirmation,” it added.

The global health body noted that until they can detect “significant differences in transmission and disease characteristics, including severity”, XE will remain categorized as a part of the Omicron variant.

“WHO continues to closely monitor and assess the public health risk associated with recombinant variants, alongside other SARS-CoV-2 variants, and will provide updates as further evidence becomes available,” the report continued.

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