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A New Covid Variant Has Been Confirmed In The UK - Here's What To Look Out For

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A New Covid Variant Has Been Confirmed In The UK - Here's What To Look Out For

A new covid variant, XE, has emerged in parts of the UK according to the The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSCA).

XE is a mutation of the BA.1. and BA.2. Omicron strains. There are currently 637 confirmed cases of this new variant.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) says that there is currently "insufficient evidence to draw conclusions about growth advantage or other properties" but that they will continue to monitor the situation.

The new variant is a mutation of two strains of the Omicron variant(Credit: Shutterstock)
The new variant is a mutation of two strains of the Omicron variant(Credit: Shutterstock)
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Reportedly, growth rates for XE were not significantly different from BA.2., but according to the most recent data it now has a growth rate 9.8 per cent higher than that of BA.2.

According to the ZOE covid study, BA.2. is thought to be attacking the gut, with patients reporting different symptoms to previous strains.

These new symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Heartburn
  • Bloating
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A previous ZOE study said diarrhoea had been noted as a symptom for covid-19, but it was deemed a "less well-known" sign of the virus compared to other symptoms.

UKHSCA is monitoring the new variant (Credit: Alamy)
UKHSCA is monitoring the new variant (Credit: Alamy)

Professor Susan Hopkins, the UKHSA's chief medical advisor transition lead spoke to The Sun about the XE variant saying:

"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."

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The UKHSA report added: “XE shows evidence of community transmission within England, although it is currently less than one per cent of total sequenced cases.”

The number of individuals testing positive for covid continues to increase across the UK (Credit: Alamy)
The number of individuals testing positive for covid continues to increase across the UK (Credit: Alamy)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is also monitoring this new variant.

WHO currently estimate that that XE is 10% more contagious than BA.2. with BA.2. being more transmissible than BA.1.

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The severity of both omicron strains is the same, although the severity of XE is not yet clear.

XE is not the only variant that is a mutation of two strains, previously there have been mutations combining both delta and omicron.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

Topics: Health, Coronavirus

Isobel Pankhurst
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