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Fourth COVID wave? WHO warns new variant XE may be most transmissible. All you need to know

According to WHO, the new variant is 10 per cent more transmissible than the BA.2 subvariant, which makes it most contagious. However, the global health body noted there were "significant differences in transmission and disease characteristics, including severity".

Health Desk Written by: Health Desk New Delhi Updated on: April 02, 2022 16:26 IST
COVID variant XE
Image Source : FREEPIK

COVID variant XE

Highlights

  • New COVID recombinant XE may be most transmissible
  • New COVID mutant ‘XE’ is a hybrid strain of two Omicron subvariants

Covid-19 XE Variant: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a warning about a new Covid-19 variant. The latest variant is believed to be a combination of two previous versions of the Omicron subvariant - BA.1 and BA.2. It is a recombinant strain of coronavirus, which continues to be a cause for concern. The XE recombinant was first detected in the United Kingdom on January 19 and less than 600 sequences have been reported and confirmed since, the WHO said in a report.

According to WHO, the new variant is 10 per cent more transmissible than the BA.2 subvariant, which makes it most contagious. However, the global health body noted there were "significant differences in transmission and disease characteristics, including severity". ALSO READ: Pfizer Covid vaccine in kids aged 5-11 cut Omicron hospitalisations by 68 per cent

 

So, what symptoms and signs should we look out for? As the new strain is still under close monitoring, not much is known about the infection. The WHO report stated: "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."

Precautions and Treatment

  • In a statement, WHO had said its expert group concluded that immunisation with authorised COVID vaccines provide high levels of protection against severe disease and death amid the spread of the omicron variant.

     

  • Also, we should continue to wear the mask and follow social distancing norms.
     
  • Don't visit overcrowded places and events.
  • Taking a booster dose increases your protection from a serious disease or illness. Thus, it is recommended to take the COVID booster dose after the vaccine.

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    Meanwhile, the WHO said that it will continue to monitor and assess the public health risk related to XE and will share updates as further evidence becomes available. The WHO added that it is also monitoring another recombinant variant known as XD, which is a hybrid of Delta and Omicron. It has been found mostly in France, Denmark and Belgium.

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