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COVID 19: All you need to know about mutant strain XE; symptoms & transmissibility

COVID-19: All you need to know about mutant strain XE; symptoms & transmissibility

COVID-19: All you need to know about mutant strain XE; symptoms & transmissibility
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By CNBCTV18.com Apr 5, 2022 7:10:09 PM IST (Published)

The XE is a recombinant variant formed from the two Omicron sub-lineages -- BA.1 and BA.2 -- and seems to be 10% more transmissible than BA.2.

The World Health Organization (WHO) had last week announced that it had identified another recombinant virus of the two Omicron sub-lineages. The XE, a recombinant of the BA.1 and BA.2 sub-lineage of the B.1.1.529 lineage of the SARS CoV-2, appeared to be 10 percent more transmissible than the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron, the top health body noted. The BA.2 sub-lineage has been driving cases of COVID-19 in the US, UK and China.

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“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.


The XE is only one of the three recombinant strains that are currently in circulation, the other two being XD and XF, which are two different recombinants of the Delta and BA.1 variant.

What are its symptoms?

The symptoms that are presented in infection would be dependent on the vaccination status and seropositivity of the individual. Common symptoms include fever, sore throat, scratchy throat, cough and cold, skin irritation and discolouration, and gastrointestinal distress, among others.

Depending on the severity of the disease, patients may also experience other symptoms such as heart ailment, palpitation and nerve diseases.

How many cases have been found?

The variant was first detected on January 19 and since then at least 600 genomic sequences have been confirmed as having been infected by the recombinant. The recombinant formed when the two variants were present in the same human cell, and the viral genome ‘recombined’ together.

Though the WHO has stated that other characteristics of the variant appear to be the same as the Omicron variant, the XE variant may be recategorised if significant differences arise among transmission and other disease characteristics.

“WHO continues to closely monitor and assess the public health risk associated with recombinant variants, alongside other SARS-CoV-2 variants, and will provide updates as further evidence becomes available," the health body said.

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