WHO Warns of New Covid Recombinant Variant XE

Story Highlights
  • The new mutation XE appears to be 10 per cent more transmissible than Omicron.
  • XE is a recombinant which is mutation of BA’1 and BA.2 Omicron strains.
  • About 1 in 13 people estimated to be infected with the virus in UK.

New Delhi: A new Covid variant has been found in the UK, the World Health Organisation said in its latest report. The new mutant, called XE, maybe more transmissible than any strain of COVID-19, the health body said. XE is a “recombinant” which is a mutation of BA’1 and BA.2 Omicron strains. Recombinant mutations emerge when a patient is infected by multiple variants of Covid.

The variants mix up their genetic material during replication and form a new mutation, UK experts said in a paper published in British Medical Journal. The World Health Organisation said that the new mutation XE appears to be 10 per cent more transmissible than the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron. “Early-day estimates indicate a community growth rate advantage of 10 per cent as compared to BA.2, however, this finding requires further confirmation,” the global health body added.

Britain’s health agency said that XE was first detected on January 19 and 637 cases of the new variant have been reported yet. Meanwhile, the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron is spreading rapidly across the globe. Some 4.9 million people in the UK are estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week ending March 26th, or 600,000 more than the previous week. US and China also reported a surge in Covid cases driven by the BA.2 variant. China reported nearly 104,000 domestic Covid infections in March, with 90 percent of the recent cases found in Shanghai or northeastern Jilin province.

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