On Friday, nearly 1,300 new cases of Covid were reported across the UK, indicating that a new strain of the disease is fast spreading.
The UK Health Security Agency, or UKHSA, has given information on the new variant, which is a hybrid of two Omicron strains. According to the latest numbers, 1,293 cases of V-22APR-02 have been discovered in England. According to UKHSA, one instance was also discovered in Northern Ireland.
In the United Kingdom, a strain known as Omicron XE has been officially designated as V-22APR-02.
Omicron XE is one of three ‘recombinants’ under investigation by the UKHSA. A recombinant is a novel variant of Covid that is formed when two Covid strains mix.
The UKHSA has been looking into new Omicron versions named XF, XE, and XD.
The XE strain is a hybrid of two Omicron strains.
The BA.1 and BA.2 strains are the names for these two variants.
Omicron XE was initially discovered in the United Kingdom on January 19 of this year.
“Recombinant variants are not an unusual occurrence,” noted Professor Susan Hopkins, UKHSA’s Chief Medical Advisor.
“This is particularly when there are several variants in circulation, and several have been identified over the course of the pandemic to date.
“As with other kinds of variants, most will die off relatively quickly.
“This particular recombinant, XE, has shown a variable growth rate and we cannot yet confirm whether it has a true growth advantage.
“So far there is not enough evidence to draw conclusions about transmissibility, severity or vaccine effectiveness.
“UKHSA will continue to monitor the situation closely as a matter of routine, as we do all data relating to SARS-CoV-2 variants both in the UK and internationally.”
The XF variant was detected in a small number of cases in the United Kingdom, but the strain appears to have died out in February.
No cases of XD have been found in the UK as of yet.
However, the XE strain appears to be spreading throughout the UK.
Image Credit: Getty
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