New XE variant of Omicron Covid discovered in UK



Health experts have confirmed that a new variant of Covid has been found in the UK. The UK Health Safety Agency (UKHSA) said it was looking at the XE variant, which is a mutation of the BA.1 and BA.2 Omicron strains.

This is called a “recombinant”. UKHSA experts say it is too early to know if it is more transmissible than previous versions of the virus.

The body said 637 cases of XE had been detected in England as of March 22. This would represent only a fraction of the tens of thousands of total cases reported each day at present, The Independent reported.

The UKHSA said initial growth rates for XE were not significantly different from BA.2. However, more recent data, up to March 16, showed a rate nearly 10% above BA.2, which was called “Stealth” Omicron.

He said that “as this estimate has not remained consistent as new data has been added, it cannot yet be interpreted as an estimate of growth advantage for the recombinant.”

“The numbers were too small for the XE recombinant to be analyzed by region,” the UKHSCA said.

UKHSA Chief Medical Adviser Transition Lead Professor Susan Hopkins said recombinant variants were not uncommon. She added that they usually die quickly.

“This particular recombinant, XE, has shown variable growth rate and we cannot yet confirm if it has a true growth advantage,” Ms. Hopkins said. The sun . “So far, there is not enough evidence to draw conclusions about the transmissibility, severity or effectiveness of the vaccine.”

The UKHSA report added: “XE shows evidence of community transmission in England, although it currently accounts for less than 1% of total sequenced cases.”

With no legal restrictions in place in England and the removal of self-isolation requirements, recent weeks have seen record numbers of people catching Covid. The Office for National Statistics said one in 13 people – or 4.9million – had the virus in the week ending March 26, up from 4.3million the previous week.

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