New Covid variant XE more transmissible than Omicron found : WHO
New Delhi, Apr 3
A new Covid variant has been found in the UK, the World Health Organisation said in its latest report. The new mutant, called XE, may be more transmissible than any strain of COVID-19, the health body said.
XE is a "recombinant" which is a mutation of BA'1 and BA.2 Omicron strains. Recombinant mutations emerge when a patient is infected by multiple variants of Covid. The variants mix up their genetic material during replication and form a new mutation, UK experts said in a paper published in British Medical Journal.
The World Health Organisation said that the new mutation XE appears to be 10 per cent more transmissible than the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron.
"Early-day estimates indicate a community growth rate advantage of 10 percent as compared to BA.2, however, this finding requires further confirmation," the global health body added.
Britain's health agency said that XE was first detected on January 19 and 637 cases of the new variant have been reported yet.
Meanwhile, the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron is spreading rapidly across the globe. Some 4.9 million people in the UK are estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week ending March 26, or 600,000 more than the previous week, the latest survey by the Office for National Statistics said.
US and China also reported a surge in Covid cases driven by the BA.2 variant.