A new COVID-19 variant was identified in the United Kingdom (UK) and experts gave it the name XE, ABC News reported on Monday.
The newly recognized variant is a combination of the original BA.1, Omicron, and its subvariant BA.2. Experts said that this kind of engagement between a variant and its subvariant is called “recombinant.”
Furthermore, they added that this variant didn’t form any threat until now, according to Chief Innovation Officer at Boston Children’s Hospital and an ABC News contributor Dr. John Brownstein.
Brownstein said: “Right now, there’s really no public health concern,” adding: “Recombinant variants happen over and over. In fact, the reason that this is the XE variant recombinant is that we’ve had XA, XB, XC, XD already, and none of those have turned out to be any real concern.”
UK Health Security Agency reported 637 XE cases since March 22, which means that XE was responsible for less than 1% of the newly reported infections in the UK.
Until now, there is no data regarding the new variant’s ability to resist vaccines.
Chief Medical Adviser for UKHSA Professor Susan Hopkins said: “This particular recombinant, XE, has shown a variable growth rate, and we cannot yet confirm whether it has a true growth advantage.”