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Japan now he has his first case of the new one COVID-19 variant known as XE, which is a mixed strain of combined genetic information of the omicron variant BA.1 and the “stealth” variant BA.2, according to a recent CNBC report.
“He’s the devil we know, so to speak. [It is] essentially a shuffling of the same deck of cards, ”said Dr. Mark Cameron, an associate professor in the School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University.
XE was first detected in the UK on January 19, 2022, with the cases of the new variant now almost doubled, but this is still only a small percentage of the total cases in the country, according to the latest data from the UK Health Safety Agency (UKHSA).
“We continue to monitor cases of the recombinant variant XE in the UK, which currently accounts for a very small percentage of cases,” said Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at UKHSA.
A “recombinant” strain is a type of variant that occurs when an individual becomes infected with two or more variants at the same time, according to a recent UK statement.
“Recombinant variants are not an unusual occurrence, particularly when there are several variants in circulation and many have been identified throughout the pandemic to date,” said Susan Hopkins, UKHSA chief medical consultant.
“As with other types of variants[s]most will die relatively quickly. “
As viruses naturally mutate over time, recombinant strains are not surprising, so currently XE does not seem to be more effective in evading immunity from previous ones. vaccination or previous COVID-19 infection compared to previous strains, said Dr. Carlos Malvestutto, an infectious disease specialist at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
But the World Health Organization said XE is probably 10% more transmissible than BA.2which is the predominant strain in the United States, responsible for 85.9% of all COVID-19 cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But Hopkins noted: “So far there is not enough evidence to draw conclusions about the vaccine’s transmissibility, severity or efficacy.”
Some experts argue, however, because XE is a combined strain of BA.1 and BA.2 and vaccination protects against symptomatic disease for BA.1 and BA.2 strains, vaccination is likely to protect against symptomatic disease caused by too. XE, said Dr. Andrew
Badley, professor of infectious diseases at the Mayo Clinic and chair of the COVID-19 Task Force for the Mayo Clinic.
He also added: “We also know that the other therapies used particularly in the outpatient setting – Paxlovid and molnupiravir – should, based on their functioning, have continued activity against the XE strain.”
But Bradley noted that because some monoclonal antibody therapies are not effective against BA.1 and BA.2, those specific antibody treatments are also likely not to work against XE.
“The key point is that for each of these variants and sub-variants, the risk of hospitalization and death appears to be, on average, lower where vaccination rates are higher, indicating that vaccination, including a third dose, should be effective. in reducing the risk of serious illness, “said Stephanie Silvera, professor of public health at Montclair State University.