First case of ‘XE’ Covid variant in Thailand, nothing to fear

Assistant Professor Dr. Donniphat Dejsuphong’s Lab | Section for Translational Medicine. Credit: Mahidol University Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital

Don’t be alarmed, it’s not so bad. That’s the gist of the message from the Public health Ministry, which dismissed fears of the new XE variant’s appearance in Thailand, as experts say the symptoms aren’t as severe as previous strains of Covid-19. On Saturday, Ramathibodi Hospital’s Centre for Medical Genomics, or CMG, revealed they’d diagnosed the first patient with the new variant, saying he’d already recovered.

The new XE variant is a combination of the two Omicron sublineages BA.1 and BA.2., according to Dr. Supakit Sirilak, the director-general of the Department of Medical Sciences, or DMS. Further mutations to the virus are normal as cases rise, resulting in new variant like Deltacron, which combines the m-RNA from Delta and Omicron stains.

Notably, if you’ve already been infected with the Omicron BA.2 sub-variant, then you may have some immunity to XE because of the genetic similarities of BA.1 and BA.2, according to Biotec expert Anan Jongkaewwattana.

“Don’t be more afraid of XE than BA.2 as that strain has already been around town.”

On Saturday, the WHO has also recognized the new XE variant, warning that it could be more transmissible than previous variants, though not more severe. They said there have been less than 600 confirmed cases since the first case was detected in January in Britain.

The DMS is set to hold a briefing with the press later today regarding the recent XE infection and the state of the variant in Thailand, Sirilak said. Each week, the DMS conducts sequencing for the genomes of around 500 virus samples.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

First case of 'XE' Covid variant in Thailand, nothing to fear | News by Thaiger

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Jay Shine

A longtime expat in Asia with a degree in journalism and creative writing. Highlights include writing for Condé Nast Traveller and Apple Music. In his spare time, Jay enjoys writing poetry, brewing traditional Chinese tea and lounging with his calico soi cat, Almond.

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