COVID-19

Omicron XE sub-variant explained

But is this variant, and others that have been detected, cause for concern as globally mask mandates and mandatory travel tests are increasingly being scrapped around the world? Here’s what we know so far: What is Omicron XE?Omicron XE is a combination of the highly transmissible BA. 1 and BA. 2 variants.That recombinant XE and is believed to be the newest more-transmissible variant raising concern.According to a technical briefing by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), in addition to mutations from BA. 1 and BA. 2, XE also contains three mutations that are not present in all Omicron sequences.Where did Omicron XE come from?Since South African scientists first identified Omicron approximately four months ago, numerous subvariants have evolved.What are the symptoms of Omicron XE?The most commonly reported symptoms include scratchy or sore throat, runny or blocked nose and sneezing, as opposed to the symptoms belonging to the original strain of Covid-19 which included fever, headache, fatigue and loss of taste or smell.Is Omicron XE more contagious than Omicron?The WHO-monitored XE variant is thought to be 10 per cent more transmissible than BA. 2, according to a statement by Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, lead doctor for the WHO. However, other sources are placing the new sub-lineage at between 70 per cent and 10 times more contagious.Which countries have Omicron XE? The new strain has spread in the UK, the US including Hawaii, Canada, Japan, India, and now Australia.How dangerous is Omicron XE?There is no scientific evident e as yet that recombinant variants are any more threatening to public health than other Covid-19 variants but experts are closely monitoring these new strains of the coronavirus as they are predicted to become more frequent.Do vaccines work against Omicron XE?Vaccinated people are contracting coronavirus and its subvariants.However, Dr Andrew Bradley, a specialist in infectious diseases with the Mayo Clinic, told TIME magazine: “(I) f you’re vaccinated and otherwise healthy, you shouldn’t worry about it. If you’re not vaccinated or have comorbidities, there’s a cause for concern.”What comes after Omicron XE?“At present there are a number of Omicron sub-lineages we’re following closely, including BA. 2, BA. 4 and BA. 5 and another recombinant detected, made up of BA. 1 and BA. 2,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus this week. “Recombinant variants are not an unusual occurrence, particularly when there are several variants in circulation, Dr Susan Hopkins of the UKHSA said in a statement.“Several have been identified over the course of the pandemic to date. As with other kinds of variant, most will die off quickly,” said Dr. Hopkins.

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