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Tags: covid | omicron | variant | xe | transmissible

New Hybrid Omicron Variant XE is Most Transmissible Yet

street sign that warns 'Omicron variant'
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Monday, 04 April 2022 12:27 PM EDT

As the coronavirus continues to mutate, we are now seeing the emergence of the most transmissible variants ever. The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that a hybrid of the BA.1 and BA.2 omicron mutation named XE was first detected in the U.K., and now China is reporting COVID-19 cases of two novel omicron subvariants that don’t match any existing sequences. Experts are not sure whether the latest outbreaks caused by these variants are transient or could eventually cause problems around the world.

“If the Chinese authorities’ efforts to constrain transmission are ineffective against a highly, highly transmissible virus, like an omicron variant, this could become a threat for the rest of the world,” said Rajeev Venkayya, an expert in global vaccine issues who has done extensive research on neutralizing omicron and its subvariants for Aerium Therapeutics, according to Bloomberg. “We know that uncontrolled transmission of the virus can lead to more viral evolution and an evolution around vaccines and therapeutics, potentially making them less effective.”

According to reports, the XE variant is 10% more transmissible than the BA.2 subvariant, which has been the most contagious mutation so far, according to Express.co.uk. The WHO says that the BA.2 is still the most dominant mutation of the omicron virus with 86% of all sequenced cases attributed to it. So far, the XE accounts for only a small fraction of COVID-19 cases, but its extremely high transmissibility means it could become the dominant strain in the future.

The Food and Drug Administration is holding a hearing this week to investigate what booster shots are needed and what strains of viruses they should target. While the number of infections from these variants isn’t significant at this time, scientists say they still should be monitored to avoid a global health threat. So far, most of the infections in China and Hong Kong have been caused by existing variants, says virologist Stephen Goldstein, of the University of Utah.

“I don’t really expect a new variant to emerge from the omicron epidemics in Hong Kong and China,” he said. “That said, this virus has certainly surprised us before, and we need to stay vigilant.”

© 2022 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.


Health-News
As the coronavirus continues to mutate, we are now seeing the emergence of the most transmissible variants ever. The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that a hybrid of the BA.1 and BA.2 omicron mutation named XE was first detected in the U.K., and now China is reporting...
covid, omicron, variant, xe, transmissible
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2022-27-04
Monday, 04 April 2022 12:27 PM
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