The UK Health Security Agency said there were now more than 600 confirmed cases of ‘Covid XE’ in the UK, though it has not yet been confirmed in the North West, and the WHO says the new variant could be the most transmissible yet.
The XE strain is a combination of variants BA.1 (Omicron) and BA.2 (Stealth Omicron) - and reported to be around 10 per cent more infectious.
Several variants identified
It comes as Covid infection levels hit a record high in the UK, with around five million people (1 in 13) estimated to have had Covid-19 last week, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Professor Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Advisor, UKHSA said: “Recombinant variants are not an unusual occurrence, particularly when there are several variants in circulation, and several have been identified over the course of the pandemic to date.
“As with other kinds of variant, most will die off relatively quickly. This particular recombinant, XE, has shown a variable growth rate and we cannot yet confirm whether it has a true growth advantage.”
The main symptoms of a mild XE infection are a cough, fever, fatigue and possible loss of taste or smell.
Some patients also noted a runny nose, stomach problems, headache and a rash.
Lateral flow and PCR tests are now no longer free in the UK, so many people are confused about what their symptoms really are. Covid, cold or the flu.
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