Covid-19 XE Variant: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a warning about a new Covid-19 variant. It is basically a mutant strain, called XE. It is believed to be a hybrid strain of two Omicron sub-variants -- BA.1 and BA.2.
The new variant, XE, however, accounts for a small fraction of cases at present. The XE recombinant (BA.1-BA.2), 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 released earlier this week.
According to reports, early studies show that the XE strain has a growth rate advantage of 10 per cent as compared to the BA.2 sub-variant which was until now the most contagious known strain of Covid-19. The BA.2 sub-variant is spreading across the world, now accounting for a majority of cases in the US.
“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 WHO added in its report.
According to Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser of Britain's Health Security Agency (HSA), there is not enough evidence available to draw conclusions about XE's transmissibility, severity and also effectiveness of vaccines.
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.