Even as four states in India (Delhi, Maharastra, Telangana and West Bengal) have done away with all Covid SOPs, the WHO reported a new Covid variant in the UK, Saturday. The new mutant, called XE, may be more transmissible than any strain of COVID-19, the health body said.
XE is a “recombinant” which is a mutation of BA’1 and BA.2 Omicron strains. Recombinant mutations emerge when a patient is infected by multiple variants of Covid. The variants mix up their genetic material during replication and form a new mutation, UK experts said in a paper published in British Medical Journal.
The WHO said that the new mutation XE appears to be 10 per cent more transmissible than the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron.
Britain’s health agency said that XE was first detected on January 19 and 637 cases of the new variant have been reported yet.
Meanwhile, the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron is spreading rapidly across the globe. Some 4.9 million people in the UK are estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week ending March 26, or 600,000 more than the previous week, the latest survey by the Office for National Statistics said.
US and China also reported a surge in Covid cases driven by the BA.2 variant. China reported nearly 104,000 domestic Covid infections in March, with 90 percent of the recent cases found in Shanghai and the North Eastern Jilin province.
Picture Credit: Hanif Sindhi