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First case of new Omicron variant ‘XE’ detected in Thailand

Tim Newton

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Thailand now has its first case of a new variant of a new Covid-19 Omicron variant. Yesterday, the Centre for Medical Genomics Ramathibodi Hospital confirmed tests of Thailand’s first case of the new recombinant variant, a hybrid of the BA.1 and BA.2 variants.

The World Health Organisation flagged concerns about the new variant last Tuesday, warning that XE could be the “most transmissible strain of the new coronavirus although its severity is still being investigated”.

Britain’s Health Security Agency has also announced that it’s monitoring 3 recombinant strains… coded XD, XE and XF. Scientists from Britain’s Health Security Agency reported the XE strain is a recombinant of BA.1 and BA.2, but noted that it has 3 new mutations that aren’t present in their parent sub-variants. Up to the last week Omicron XE had only been detected in Britain with 637 confirmed XE sequenced cases.

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The new revelations comes amid a surge in Covid infections in the UK, which has again reached record levels, with an estimated 1 in 13 people infected with the virus in the past week.

At this time there are 6 Omicron recombinants of BA.1 and BA.2 – XE, XG, XH, XJ, XK and XL – currently under investigation around the world.

With the collection of data ongoing, the Health Security Agency has reported that XE was 9.8% more transmissible than earlier Omicron variants and 43% more transmissible than the original Omicron variant (B.1.1.529).

“So far there is not enough evidence to draw conclusions about transmissibility, severity or vaccine effectiveness.”

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For the XD strain, it was first detected at the end of 2021 and by March 22, 49 samples had been found in France, Denmark and Belgium.

The XE recombinant mutation is not the Deltacron variant, reported over the last few months. Deltacron, a hybrid recombinant of Covid-19 Delta and Omicron strains, is now reported to “not spread quickly or cause severe symptoms”.

Today, Thailand’s Public Health Department have announced 26,840 new infections from PCR testing, along with 97 Covid-related deaths. There are 259,126 active cases currently under care, along with 1,838 “serious cases” with 23,412 people now recovered.

Bangkok continues to be Thailand’s Covid hotspot, with infections in Chon Buri, Nakhon Si Thammarat, and Samut Sakhon also leading the provincial totals.

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First case of new Omicron variant 'XE' detected in Thailand | News by Thaiger

GRAPH: Daily new infections in Thailand – worldometers.info

First case of new Omicron variant 'XE' detected in Thailand | News by Thaiger

GRAPH: World daily infections, Top 10 countries – worldometers.info (some country data may not be reported as of the this time in the 24 hour cycle)

 

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    Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2011. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 42 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program (public radio Australia), presented over 11,000 radio news bulletins, 3,950 in Thailand alone, hosted 1050 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. He also reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand. As founder of The Thaiger in 2016, Tim is the current English Content Manager for the company, based in their Bangkok HQ.

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