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New COVID Mutant XE Omicron Variant Could Be Most Transmissible Yet: WHO

In a recent report, the World Health Organisation said that a new COVID variant had been discovered in the United Kingdom. It has been suggested that the new mutant, called XE, maybe more transmissible than any strain of COVID-19.

New Covid Variant XE: Everything You Need To Know

What is the new COVID-19 variant XE?

XE is a recombinant strain mutation of the BA.1 and BA.2 strains of Omicron. The recombinant mutations occur when multiple variants of COVID-19 infect a patient. According to experts, the variants combine their genetic material and form a new mutant during replication [1][2].

What about transmissibility?

A report by the global health body indicates that this may be the most contagious coronavirus strain to date, with a growth rate advantage of 10% compared to BA.2, one of the more contagious variants [3].

Early estimates indicate that the community growth rate is 10% higher than BA.2, but further confirmation is necessary.

What have other hybrid mutants been found?

To date, three hybrid or recombinant viruses have been detected. These are XD, XE and XF [4].

XD lineage is hybrid of Delta and BA.1. According to reports, they are primarily found in France, Denmark and Belgium. The spread of XD from country to country, and the presence of the more severe Delta strain puts it on the watchlist.

XE is a hybrid of BA.1 x BA.2 sub-variants of Omicron. In Britain, it has been observed to be transmitted within communities.

XF is another hybrid of the Delta x BA.1 lineage of Omicron. It was first discovered in Britain on February 15 but hasn't been detected since.

According to reports, the XD the strain was first detected in December 2021 and has since been found mostly in France, Denmark and Belgium. According to the British health agency, 637 cases of XE have been reported since the new variant was first detected on January 19. So far, the XF mutant has only been found in the United Kingdom.

On A Final Note...

The WHO had earlier said that it was continuing to monitor the spread of Omicron and its "stealth" version BA.2, which has been documented to have re-infected some people after an initial case of Omicron.

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