New Covid variant XE

New COVID-19 variant XE detected in United Kingdom about 637 cases detected in England as of March 22,


This new variant combines two different omicron strains;  a combination of the original BA.1 omicron variant and its subvariant BA.2. This type of combination is known as a “recombinant” variant.

According to early data from British public health officials and the World Health Organization, this new variant could be the fastest-spreading Covid variant though experts say there is no cause for alarm yet.

COVID 19 virus

What are the main symptoms of the XE variant?

This is a new variant  and therefore very little is known about this particular strain.

Like Omicron, most persons reported symptoms are believed to be similar to : 

  • cold
  • runny nose, 
  • sneezing 
  • sore throats 
  • fevers, 
  • coughs
  • loss of taste or smell.
A medical worker collects a swab sample from a person at a COVID-19 testing site 

When was the Covid XE variant first detected?

The variant was first detected in the UK in mid-January 2022 and have recorded more than 600 cases in the country so far.

Unlike other variants including Omicron and Delta, XE is a recombinant – meaning someone got infected with two Omicron subvariants simultaneously.


How is the Covid variant XE different to other Covid mutations?

Fundamentally, XE is a recombinant rather than a mutation.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said early tests indicated XE is around 10% more transmissible. However the body also added that the findings need more investigation.

The WHO report said: “Early-day estimates indicate a community growth rate advantage of 10% as compared to BA.2, however this finding requires further confirmation.


“XE belongs to the Omicron variant until significant differences in transmission and disease characteristics, including severity, may be reported.”

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