What is XE variant: The World Health Organisation said it is a hybrid of two sub lineages of Omicron – BA.1 and BA.2. The XE variant belongs to the Omicron variant until significant differences in transmission and disease characteristics, including severity, may be reported.
Where was the variant detected: The World Health Organization (WHO) said in its latest update that the XE recombinant was first detected in the UK on January 19.
Where is the XE variant currently present: India reports its first case of XE variant on Wednesday. The XE variant is a 50 year old female, asymptomatic, with no comorbidity. She arrived from South Africa on Feb 10, and tested negative on arrival. Apart from the UK, cases of the XE variant have also been detected in Thailand and New Zealand.
How fast can the XE variant spread: The XE variant appears to be more transmissible than previous strains of the coronavirus, the WHO said. “Early-day estimates indicate a community growth rate advantage of around 10 per cent “as compared to BA.2,” it added.
What are the symptoms of XE variant: Some of the symptoms to watch out for include – fever, sore throat, scratchy throat, cough and cold, skin irritation and discolouration, gastrointestinal distress,
How severe is XE variant: There is no evidence XE is any more serious in disease severity, with all Omicron variants so far shown to be less severe. “So far there is not enough evidence to draw conclusions about severity or vaccine effectiveness,” Hopkins told ‘The Sun’.
Are vaccines effective against XE variant: Covid-19 vaccines will reduce severe illness, hospitalisations, and death, even if they do not offer full protection against the new variant. Scientists are currently investigating how protected fully vaccinated people will be against the XE variant.
How to stay safe from the XE variant:
– Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth.
– Keep a physical distance of at least 1 metre from others.
– Avoid poorly ventilated or crowded spaces at all costs.
– Open windows to improve ventilation in indoor spaces.
– Wash your hands regularly with soap, use sanitizer when you can’t wash hands.
– Get vaccinated- get both the jabs if you still have not received them. Get the booster shot if you are eligible for the same.