Omicron: GP explains ‘overwhelming’ science behind vaccines
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The UK Health Security Agency, UKHSA, released data on the new variant which is a combination of two types of the Omicron strain. The new figures show that 1,293 cases of V-22APR-02 have been found in England. There has also been one incident found in Northern Ireland, according to UKHSA.
V-22APR-02 is the UK’s official designation for a strain that was previously named Omicron XE.
Omicron XE is one of three ‘recombinants’ the UKHSA has been investigating. Recombinants occur when two strains of Covid combine to create a new variant.
The UKHSA has been investigating new variants of Omicron, called XF, XE and XD.
The XE variant is a combination of two strains of Omicron.
These two variants are called the BA.1 and BA.2 strains.
Omicron XE was first detected in the UK on January 19 at the beginning of this year.
Professor Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Advisor, UKHSA said: “Recombinant variants are not an unusual occurrence.
“This is particularly when there are several variants in circulation, and several have been identified over the course of the pandemic to date.
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“As with other kinds of variants, 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.
“So far there is not enough evidence to draw conclusions about transmissibility, severity or vaccine effectiveness.
“UKHSA will continue to monitor the situation closely as a matter of routine, as we do all data relating to SARS-CoV-2 variants both in the UK and internationally.”
A small number of cases of the XF variant were found in the Uk although the strain seems to have died off in February.
No cases of XD have been found in the UK as of yet.
However, the XE strain appears to be spreading throughout the UK.
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