Explained: Is XE Variant Dangerous? Symptoms, Severity and Everything About New Covid Variant
A XE variant of COVID-19 has been reportedly detected in Gujarat. Earlier this week, a patient with foreign travel history was reported to have contracted the XE variant in Mumbai. The Union Health Ministry however denied the same and said that there is no evidence to suggest that the new variant was detected.
All About XE Variant
A new strain of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, first detected in the United Kingdom, appears to be more transmissible than previous strains of the virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) had said.
However, this finding requires further confirmation," WHO had said.
It added that XE belongs to the Omicron variant until significant differences in transmission and disease characteristics, including severity, may be reported.
"WHO continues to closely monitor and assess the public health risk associated with recombinant variants, alongside other SARS-CoV-2 variants, and will provide updates as further evidence becomes available."
How Dangerous is the New Variant?
"We were worried about BA.2 but it did not cause more serious disease than BA.1. XE does not cause more serious disease than BA.1 or BA.2," Dr Gagandeep Kang, Professor at Christian Medical College in Vellore, said on the sidelines of a panel discussion organised by John Hopkins Gupta-Klinsky India Institute here.
She added that in a vaccinated population XE variant is not something to be bothered about.
30% More Contagious
BA.2 has lots of mutations. It's been dubbed "stealth omicron" because it lacks a genetic quirk of the original omicron that allowed health officials to rapidly differentiate it from the delta variant using a certain PCR test. One reason BA.2 has gained ground, scientists say, is that it's about 30% more contagious than the original omicron.
In rare cases, research shows it can sicken people even if they've already had an omicron infection - although it doesn't seem to cause more severe disease.
Precautions to Fight New COVID Variant
The advice from experts remains the same: Take precautions to avoid getting COVID-19. "The virus is still out there circulating," Dr Wesley Long, a pathologist at Houston Methodist in Texas, said.
"Vaccination is still your best defense." Get the shots if you haven't already, he said, and get the second booster if you're eligible because you are 50 or older or have a compromised immune system.
"If cases start going up in your community, think about assessing your risk level," Long said. "If you stopped masking and stopped worrying about distancing and things ... that's the time to reinstitute those protective measures."
Covid XE Variant Symptoms and Severity
As per the reports, while symptoms can be mild for some, severe for others. If vaccinated, people might experience mild symptoms and it varies from person to person.
Fatigue, dizziness, headaches, sore throat, fever, heart ailment, and palpitation are some of the symptoms of the new variant of Covid.