What is XE COVID-19 variant? All you need to know about this new strain found in Mumbai

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Wednesday, April 06, 2022, 05:44 PM IST
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(Photo by Punit PARANJPE / AFP)

One case of the new Covid variant, XE, was detected in Mumbai on Wednesday. Out of 376 samples tested, one turned positive for the XE variant, according to India Today.

The XE variant was recently traced in UK.

The new mutant of the novel coronavirus appears to be around ten per cent more transmissible than the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron, as per the World Health Organisation.

The XE, a recombinant strain of two sub-lineages of Omicron, BA.1 and BA.2, still "belongs to the Omicron variant until significant differences in transmission and disease characteristics, including severity, may be reported," the WHO said in its latest weekly epidemiological report released on March 29.

Until now, the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron was considered the most contagious strain of Covid-19. If this new research is confirmed, it would make XE the most transmissible Covid-19 mutant yet.

The XE strain was first detected in the UK on January 19, and more than 600 XE cases have been confirmed since then.

Meanwhile, the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron is spreading across different regions of the world, now accounting for a majority of new Covid-19 cases in the US.

Britain’s Health Security Agency is monitoring three recombinant lineages: XD, XE and XF.

The XD is the hybrid of Delta and BA.1, a sublineage of the Omicron variant and has been found mostly in France, Denmark and Belgium.

Here's all you need to know about the XE variant:

What is variant XE?

The new variant, XE, is a mutant hybrid of two versions of Omicron - BA.1 and BA.2. It only accounts for a small fraction of cases across the globe at the moment.

Transmisibility of XE ?

"Early-day estimates indicate a community growth rate advantage of 10 percent as compared to BA.2, however, this finding requires further confirmation," the global health body added.

Until significant differences in characteristics, including severity and transmission, are noted in the XE mutant, it will continue to be categorised as part of the Omicron variant, as per the WHO.

Where variant XE is found?

"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 WHO said in a report released earlier this week.

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