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Covid 4th wave: Symptoms, Signs, and Impact of the New Omicron XE Variant

XE is a 'recombinant' mutant of the two most common Omicron types, BA.1 and BA.2, making it more contagious than Omicron.

Ⓒ Image by Unsplash

Even as many nations combat the Covid 4th wave, a new concern of a new wave of infections has alarmed people in India, with new XE variant cases appearing in Maharashtra and Gujarat. Mumbai is the first city to report an Omicron XE variant case.

The WHO is presently tracking the XE mutation as part of the Omicron variation. Fever, sore throat, scratchy throat, cough and cold, skin irritation and discoloration, gastrointestinal upset, and a dry cough are some of the symptoms.

XE is a hybrid of the two most common Omicron strains, BA.1 and BA.2, making it even more contagious than Omicron. This suggests that the variety will spread more quickly than prior Omicron strains and infect more people.

What exactly is an XE variant?

The XE was discovered in the United Kingdom in January 2022 as a novel variety of Covid-19 and has already been verified in over 600 instances. It is five times more infectious than the BA.2 form, according to the WHO. The Covid-19 XE model from India has just been upgraded.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the XE mutation is being investigated as a component of the Omicron variant. Signs of Omicron include a high temperature, a painful throat, a scratchy throat, a cough and a cold, skin inflammation and pigmentation, and problems with the gastrointestinal tract.

The Omicron strains BA.1 and BA.2 gave rise to the'recombinant' mutant known as XE. Recombinant mutations are produced whenever a patient is infected with several Covid variants at the same time. In the process of replication, the variances cause the genetic material to become jumbled, leading to the production of a new mutant, as stated by experts from the United Kingdom in a paper that was published in the British Medical Journal.

When compared to the original virus, the XE version is 10% more transmissible and has a 1.1 community transmission advantage. However, there is no indication that XE is any more dangerous in terms of illness severity. So far, all Omicron variants have been shown to be less severe.

What exactly is recombinant mutation?

A recombinant virus is a virus that results from the interchange of genetic material between related viruses. This results in the production of children who have genetic material from both of their parents. It is possible for this to take place when viruses belonging to two different strains (or variations or subvariants) infect the same cell at the same time.

The genetic material of the viruses can be combined and packed together to produce a new recombinant virus with characteristics inherited from either one or both of the parent viruses. Therefore, the characteristics of the recombinant virus are dictated by the portions of the genetic material from the parent viruses that are carried over into the new form.

Also, READ | Scientists Come Closer to Understanding COVID-19

When Delta and Omicron unite, the resultant offspring are known as 'Deltacron' (although more officially these are referred to as XD and XF). This kind of recombinant was discovered in France in mid-February and appears to have a genetic sequence that is essentially identical to Delta but contains elements of the spike protein from Omicron BA.1.

XE variant symptoms

So far, the symptoms of the Omicron have been described, including weariness, lethargy, fever, headache, bodily discomfort, palpitations, and cardiac problems. Early indications of such an illness include fever, sore throat, cough, mucous and cold, and gastrointestinal difficulties. So yet, there is no indication that the symptoms of the XE variation vary from those of other known variants.

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