New omicron XE variant detected in Japan as UK cases rise
As of April 5 2022, 1,125 cases of XE — a new scombinant subvariant — have been identified in the U.K., up from 637 on March 25.
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Japan has reported its first case of omicron XE — a new Covid-19 strain first detected in the U.K. — just as British cases of the subvariant rise.
A woman in her 30s was diagnosed with the XE variant after she arrived from the U.S. at Narita International Airport on March 26. Japan’s Health Ministry said Monday that the patient was in good health.
This is because the cases of this strain are almost at double in Britain according to recent statistics by the U.K. Health Security Agency.
On April 5, there were 1125 confirmed cases of XE in Britain, up from 637 as of March 25, This specimen dates back to January 19, which suggests that it may have been around for many months.
XE has since been detected in Thailand, India Israel. These cases could have been developed in isolation, it is possible. The U.S. has yet to report any XE-related cases.
What does omicron XE mean?
A “recombinant” is a variant of XE that occurs when a person becomes infected by multiple variants simultaneously. The result can lead to a mixture of the genetic material in a patient’s bodies.
XE is a mixture of the BA.1 strain of highly infectious omicrons, that emerged in 2021 and the “stealth” BA.2 version, the dominant variant currently found in the U.K.
This is not a rare occurrence, as it has happened several times over the course. the coronavirus pandemic. Health experts warn that it’s too early to make any conclusions about the subvariant’s severity and ability to avoid vaccines.
Meera Chand from UKHSA’s director for clinical and emerging diseases, stated that they continue to monitor the cases of the recombinant XE mutant in the U.K. “This currently represents a very low proportion of cases.”
The U.K. had 41,469 Covid cases on Sunday. This was compared to a 7-day average of 59.578 cases. Given this, XE accounts for only a very small proportion of Covid cases.
Which level of worry should we have?
Early estimations suggest that XE might be more transmissible to other strains. XE has shown a slight higher growth rate than any of its predecessors.
UKHSA data reveals that XE has a growth rate of 9.8% above that of BA.2, while the World Health Organization has so far put that figure at 10%.
Experts say that XE will decrease in severity as it spreads faster. XE, however, has not been identified as a cause of concern.
Jennifer Horney from the University of Delaware spoke out to CNBC, saying that XE is moving in the exact same direction as BA.2. It has a higher transmissibility than BA.1, but it’s less severe.
“It’s the devil we are familiar with, so to say. [It is]It is essentially a reshuffle of a single deck of cards,” explained Mark Cameron (associate professor in Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine).
The XE virus contains both spike and structural protein from the same family of viruses, i.e. Omicron means that it ought to behave in the same way as before. The existing vaccines and immunity systems should offer some protection against infection.
“Recombinants that include the spike protein and other structural proteins (like XE, XF), are likely to be similar to one virus. [their]Tom Peacock of Imperial College London’s Department of Infectious Disease wrote that the parental virus was a “viral disease” in an article. thread of tweetsMid-March The acronym XF stands for another recombinantPreviously detected in the U.K. on February
There are also other recombinants with spike and structural protein from various virus families that continue to be discovered. This includes the XD Subvariant discovered recently in Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands. It contains both delta structural proteins as well as omicron spike protein and was described by Peacock “a bit more concerning.”
To ensure that they do not become more serious, it is important to monitor all new emergences, particularly in the early stages.
Cameron stated that the virus was still capable of developing, recombining, and creating a new family tree.
The key message is that, for all of these subvariants and variations, the risk of dying and hospitalization seems to be higher where there are more vaccinations. This suggests that vaccinations, which include a third dose of vaccines, could be an effective way of reducing severe diseases risk,” said Stephanie Silvera from Montclair State University.