8 Apr 2022 12:08

XE coronavirus variant not to cause new sickness wave - expert

MOSCOW. April 8 (Interfax) - The appearance of the Omicron strain XE, a more contagious variant of coronavirus, will most likely not cause a new wave of Covid-19 as an immune layer to coronavirus has now been formed in Russia, Kamil Khafizov, the head of the scientific group for developing new methods of diagnostics using sequencing technologies of the Central Research Institute of Epidemiology of the Russian consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, told reporters.

The recombinant variant of Omicron XE, whose genome consists of fragments BA.1 and BA.2 (stealth Omicron), was declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the most contagious in the entire history of the pandemic.

"Conclusions were drawn based on a statistical analysis using data from several hundreds of cases, mainly in the United Kingdom. On one hand, it can indeed be so, and the new variant will become a little slightly (they are speaking about ten percent) more transmissible than all previous versions," the expert said.

"Now we almost don't get sick, with the wide-spread highly contagious stealth Omicron, and ten percent of extra transmissibility will hardly add problems. And it will hardly cause a new wave in itself," Khafizov said.

A very "powerful immune layer" has now been formed in Russia as many people had coronavirus in January and in February, he said. This is also indicated by the fact that "four out of five new cases of infection in the country are now caused by stealth Omicron BA.2, which was the most contagious, but nevertheless, the number of recorded cases is minimal," he said.

Earlier, the media reported on the discovery of the new XE coronavirus strain, citing the UK Health Security Agency.