XE COVID Variant: What it is and why it is called the most transmissible strain; check symptoms here

XE COVID Variant: The XE recombinant virus has a growth rate advantage of 10 per cent as compared to the BA.2 sub-variant which was until now the most contagious known strain of Covid-19.

By Talibuddin Khan
Tue, 05 Apr 2022 12:44 PM IST
Minute Read
XE COVID Variant: What it is and why it is called the most transmissible strain; check symptoms here
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New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Even as the world is starting to return to pre-Covid times, the WHO, earlier last week, had warned about a new variant of COVID-19, which the global health body said, could be the most transmissible COVID-19 variant that emerged so far. The variant is named XE and the WHO has notified it as a recombinant virus.

The WHO said that the XE is a hybrid strain of two Omicron sub-variants -- BA.1 and BA.2. The XE recombinant virus, however, accounts for a small fraction of cases at present but has a growth rate advantage of 10 per cent as compared to the BA.2 sub-variant which was until now the most contagious known strain of Covid-19. The XE variant was first detected in the United Kingdom, the WHO report said.

What are recombinant viruses?

Recombinant variants can be made when multiple strains infect a person at the same time. The different mutations interact during replication and mix up their genetic material forming a new combination.

As per a study by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), three new recombinant strains are currently circulating globally - XD, XE and XF. XD refers to the hybrid of Delta x BA.1 lineage of Omicron, while XE is the hybrid of BA.1 and BA.2 sub-variants of Omicron. It has been found in Britain and shown evidence of community transmission. XF is another hybrid of Delta x BA.1 lineage of Omicron.

Symptoms to watch out for?

Symptoms and severity of the Covid-19 virus change from person to person, depending on vaccination status and immunity from previous infections. Below are the common symptoms you should be aware of.

Fever

Sore throat

Scratchy throat

Cough and cold

Skin irritation and discolouration

Gastrointestinal distress

Heart ailment

Palpitation

Where and when it was first detected?

As per the report by the WHO, the XE variant was first reported in the United Kingdom on January 19. Since then, less than 600 sequences have been reported and have been confirmed. "The XE recombinant (BA.1-BA.2), was first detected in the UK on January 19 and less than 600 sequences have been reported and confirmed since," noted WHO.

COVID situation in India:

The downward trend in COVID infections continued in the country with India logging 795 new cases in the last 24 hours, the Ministry of Health informed on Tuesday. Active cases in India have declined further to 12,054, and the active COVID caseload now constitutes 0.03 per cent of the country's total positive cases. There has been a sustained fall in the weekly and daily positivity rates too, said the Ministry.

In a press release, a Ministry said, "Weekly positivity rate in the country currently stands at 0.22 per cent and the daily positivity rate is also reported to be 0.17 per cent." The Ministry also informed that as many as 58 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, taking the cumulative COVID death toll to 5,21,416. With 1,208 recoveries from the virus at a recovery rate of 98.76 per cent, the cumulative tally of recovered COVID patients since the beginning of the pandemic stands at 4,24,96,369.

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