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Covid Omicron XE: Symptoms And Everything You Need To Know About The Combined Variant

The first case of coronavirus variant Omicron XE has been detected in Mumbai and confirmed by the NCDC, Delhi; officials said on 9th, Saturday. The infected individual is a 67-year-old male, and he had travelled from Mumbai to Gujarat, where he suffered from a mild fever on 12 March. His samples were sent for genome sequencing tests, and on Saturday, the results showed it to be Omicron XE [1].

The 67-year-old was fully vaccinated with Covishield and was reported to be completely asymptomatic and stable. However, his contacts are being traced currently.

Covid Omicron XE: Everything You Need To Know About The Combined Variant

According to preliminary reports, the Omicron XE variant is a combination of the BA.1 and BA.2 strains of Omicron and is responsible for enhanced viral transmission. The hybrid strain was first found in the UK in January. It may be the most transmissible variant yet, according to the WHO. The virus spreads 10 per cent more easily than BA.2, which was also more transmissible than the original Omicron [2].

Are The Symptoms Of Omicron XE Different From Omicron?

Clinically, it is impossible to tell the difference between any variants. Omicron's new sub-variant XE shares all of Omicron's symptoms but is generally milder and not as severe. The XE variant has been around for about three months and is not as widespread as Omicron. Therefore, it is not a distinct form; rather, it is similar to Omicron.

The situation may change as the sub-variant is new, but currently, it is not believed that XE comes with any new symptoms. Omicron's original strain is most commonly associated with cold-like symptoms, especially in people who have been vaccinated [3].

In contrast to the original strain of the virus, which caused fever, coughs, and a loss of taste or smell, the current strain of the virus generally causes running noses, sneezing, and sore throats.

According to the NHS (UK), the signs of COVID-19 that people should also look out for amidst the spread of the Omicron sub-variant include the following [4]:

  • shortness of breath
  • feeling tired or exhausted
  • an aching body
  • a headache
  • a sore throat
  • a blocked or runny nose
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhoea
  • feeling sick or being sick

How Is The New Variant Different From Omicron?

The new variant XE is a subtype of Omicron. Omicron's common variants, BA1 and BA2, mutated into the new variant. Essentially, it is Omicron alone, but it is a recombinant mutant [5].

How Transmissible Is Omicron XE?

Early estimates indicate that XE has an advantage of 10 per cent over BA.2 in terms of community growth rate; however, this finding requires confirmation.

"XE belongs to the Omicron variant until significant differences in transmission and disease characteristics, including severity, may be reported [6].

On A Final Note...

According to officials, the frequent changes in genome structure are a natural part of the life cycle of viruses, which is why precautions should be taken, such as wearing masks, washing hands and using hand sanitisers.

Story first published: Tuesday, April 12, 2022, 13:13 [IST]
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