The focus is on the new Omicron subvariant XE. How worried should we be?

LOS ANGELES – Same as the highly infectious Omicron subvariant BA. 2 rapidly dominating the US, an even more likely infectious subtype, XE, has attracted the attention of global scientists.

Soon Estimate As stated by the World Health Organization, XE may be 10% more permeable than BA. 2, but it’s too early to say whether the XE will become the next prolific Omicron subvariant that will become another household name. The British Government has also noted that information The growth rate of XE over BA is showing profit. 2 has not been consistent, so more data will be needed to assess the likely future trajectory of XE.

The WHO said XE was first detected in the UK on 19 January. And there have been more than 700 cases of XE in the UK, of which more than 600 are in England, according to the British authority,

Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said on Tuesday that countries outside the UK do not have significant numbers of XE subvariants. He said that so far only three cases of XE have been reported in the US.

University of California, San Francisco infectious disease specialist Dr. Peter Chin-hong said in an interview, the preliminary data available so far suggests that XE will be “easier to catch”, although people who have been vaccinated and increased, They should have a relatively low risk of hospitalization and death, as is the case with other Omicron subvariants.

“But if XE becomes more prominent in this country, it adds a little bit of fire to people promoting it overall. And it probably adds a little bit of fire to the oldest people in our population to get their second booster. connects,” Chin-hong said.

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XE likely developed from someone who was co-infected with BA. 2 and earlier Omicron subvariants, BA. 1, Chin-hong said. B. A. 2 is more contagious than BA. 1, and B.A. 1 was more contagious than the version that swept the world last summer, Delta.

So Xe is essentially “the child of Ba. 1 and Ba. 2 that came together and a recombinant event occurred. So it originated in an individual, and it spread more easily,” Chin-hong said. He said XE represents about 1% of new cases in the UK.

“It’s coming at a time that’s a little concerning,” Chin-hong said. “And that’s a time when jurisdictions and countries are reducing efforts to track variants and person-power to do sequencing[to identify variants of new cases]), potentially because you have fewer resources. Because it’s quote-unquoted ‘There’s no emergency anymore.'”

This means it may take longer than previously thought to identify the latest subvariant or variant, Chin-hong said.

It is also possible that the XE may go bad, such as the so-called “deltacronThe mishmash of subvariants – Delta and Omicron variants – which garnered attention last month but have faded from public view.

The “deltakron” subvariants are known as xd and xf, Chin-hong said.

In a briefing to UC San Francisco colleagues last week, infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist Dr. George Rutherford said the XD contained elements of genetic material from Delta and Omicron’s BA. 1 subvariant; And XF is mostly BA. 1 But there are some elements of delta.

This mishmash of subvariants is not unexpected, Rutherford said, and viruses undergo this kind of recombination all the time. Rutherford said, as of last week, British officials were still “ho-hum about it”, and more data still needed to come out to really determine whether it was more transmittable than BA.2. Is.

Ferrer agreed that more data needs to emerge to know exactly what to expect with XE. “There’s still too little data to draw conclusions about growth benefits or other types of properties,” Ferrer said.

“But just be aware that these are the recombinant lineages that are starting to show up,” Rutherford said.

Scientists say that the increasing popularity of the new variant is expected when more people are getting infected with the coronavirus. The more infections there are, the more likely it is that new strains can develop.

Orange County Health Officer Dr. Regina Chincio-kwong said strains that combine aspects of more than one strain are another reason to be vigilant about COVID-19.

“We’ve all been humbled by COVID over the past two years,” Chinceo-kwong said. “COVID may continue to change… it may decide to evade our immune defenses even though we have been vaccinated, or it may become more contagious.

“The best thing we can do is to keep our guard up and stay alert,” Chinseyo-kwong said.


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