New COVID-19 Variant XE Found, Possibly More Transmissible Than Omicron: WHO

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.
April 4, 2022 Updated: April 6, 2022

A COVID-19 Omicron subvariant—known as XE—has been found in the United Kingdom, said the World Health Organization in a new update.

The U.N. health body said (pdf) that the subvariant is compromised of genetic material from the two Omicron strains of BA.1 and BA.2.

“The XE recombinant (BA.1-BA.2), was first detected in the United Kingdom” in January and at least 600 cases have been reported so far, according to WHO. “XE belongs to the Omicron variant until significant differences in transmission and disease characteristics, including severity, may be reported,” it clarified.

WHO noted that early estimates suggest a community growth rate of 10 percent more than BA.2, although further evidence is needed.

Further confirmation of XE and other variants is becoming more difficult, according to WHO, which said that there has been a “recent significant reduction in SARS-CoV-2 testing by several Member States.” SARS-CoV-2 is another name for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19.

“Data are becoming progressively less representative, less timely, and less robust,” the U.N. agency continued. “This inhibits our collective ability to track where the virus is, how it is spreading and how it is evolving: information and analyses that remain critical to effectively end the acute phase of the pandemic.”

Officials in the United Kingdom last week cautioned not to jump to any conclusions about XE and whether it spreads more quickly or whether it triggers more severe symptoms.

“XE shows evidence of community transmission within England, although it is currently less [than] 1 percent of total sequenced cases,” said the UK Health Services Agency in a report (pdf). “Early growth rates for XE were not significantly different from BA.2, but using the most recent data up to 16 March 2022, XE has a growth rate 9.8 percent above that of BA.2.”

“As this estimate has not remained consistent as new data have been added, it cannot yet be interpreted as an estimate of growth advantage for the recombinant. Numbers were too small for the XE recombinant to be analyzed by region.”

Since mid-January, the United States has seen a significant drop in cases, deaths, and hospitalizations from COVID-19. An Epoch Times analysis of federal health data published last week shows that as of April 1, hospitalizations reached the lowest level since August 2020.

Officials in China, however, have reported a significant surge in COVID-19 cases in recent days, sparking harsh lockdowns in large cities. In late March, the Chinese regime—which employs and promotes a draconian “zero COVID” policy—moved to completely shut down Changchun, a city of 4.5 million people, which will likely cause worldwide supply chain disruptions.

Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.