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New Variant XE found in UK

📢 New Omicron variant XE found in UK but ‘too soon to say’ how contagious it is. 😷🙏
A new Covid variant has been found in the UK but experts say it’s too soon to know if it is more transmissible than previous strains.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSCA) said it was studying XE – a mutation of the BA.1 and BA.2 Omicron strains, referred to as a “recombinant”.


Health experts have confirmed that a new Covid variant has been found in the UK. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said it was looking at the XE variant, which is a mutation of the BA.1 and BA.2 Omicron strains.
It is what’s known as a ‘recombinant’. Experts at the UKHSA say it’s too early to know whether it is more transmissible than previous versions of the virus.
The body said that 637 cases of XE had been detected in England as of March 22. That would make it only a fraction of the tens of thousands of total cases being reported each day at the moment, The Independent has reported.
The UKHSA said that initial growth rates for XE were not much different from BA.2. However, more recent data, up to March 16, showed a rate of nearly 10 per cent above BA.2, which has been called ‘Stealth’ Omicron.
It said that “as this estimate has not remained consistent as new data have been added, it cannot yet be interpreted as an estimate of growth advantage for the recombinant”.
“Numbers were too small for the XE recombinant to be analyzed by region,” the UKHSCA said.
Professor Susan Hopkins, the UKHSA’s chief medical advisor transition lead, said that recombinant variants were not uncommon. She added that they usually died off quickly.
“This particular recombinant, XE, has shown a variable growth rate and we cannot yet confirm whether it has a true growth advantage,” Ms Hopkins told The Sun. “So far there is not enough evidence to draw conclusions about transmissibility, severity or vaccine effectiveness.”
The UKHSA report added: “XE shows evidence of community transmission within England, although it is currently less than one per cent of total sequenced cases.”
With no legal restrictions now in place in England and the requirements to self-isolate removed, recent weeks have seen record numbers of people catching Covid. The Office for National Statistics said one in every 13 people – or 4.9 million – had the virus in the week ending March 26, up from 4.3 million in the previous week.

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/uk-news/new-omicron-covid-variant-xe-23580690

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