WHO explains new variant amid growing fear of XE strain
WHO stated the XE strain is a recombinant variant of Omicron's BA.1 and BA.2 sublineages.
After China witnessed a rise in COVID-19 cases in the first two weeks of March, a new strain created fresh concerns. The XE strain, which was initially detected in the United Kingdom in January, is said to be a recombinant variant, which refers to the recombination of genetic material.
Following the new information on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website, the viruses are constantly changing due to genetic selection. The mutation causes minor genetic alternation, and due to recombination, it causes major genetic changes. When an error in the viral genome is incorporated, a mutation occurs. Recombination occurs when co-infecting viruses exchange genetic information, resulting in creating a new virus, as per an expert from W. Robert Fleischmann, Jr's Medical Microb logy.
Another recombinant variant that had recently raised concerns was Deltacron, which was said to be a combination of Delta and Omicron, both of which were thought to be highly infectious.
Listed below are the five points WHO stated in its latest report regarding the XE variant:
1) As per WHO, the XE strain is a recombinant of variant BA.1 and BA.2 sublineages of Omicron.
2) It was primarily detected in the United Kingdom on January 19, and more additional 600 series have been registered and confirmed. The WHO stated that early estimates indicate a community growth rate advantage of around 10 per cent, compared to BA.2. However, further confirmation of this finding is required.
3) In its recent finding, the WHO stated that the XE comes under the Omicron variant until significant differences in transmit and disease characteristics, including severity, may be reported.
4) It further added that the WHO monitors and assesses the public health risk associated with recombinant variants and other SARS-CoV-2 variants and will provide updates as new evidence becomes available.
5) According to the WHO, Omicron is the dominant strain worldwide, with 99.7 per cent of fresh samples belonging to the variant.
In the middle of the finding, it may be cited that the BA.2 sublineage of the Omicron variant is also highly transmissible, due to which in Europe and China, the cases were spiked in March.