Friday, October 07, 2022

There have been 6 cases of COVID-19 XE in Canada – National | Nation World News

With the sixth wave of COVID-19, Health Canada confirmed there are at least six cases of Omicron’s Xe recombinant in the country.

There have been 6 cases of COVID-19 XE in Canada - National | Nation World News

“As of April 6, 2022, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is aware of six detections of Omicron’s XE recombinant lineage in Canada,” a PHAC spokesperson wrote in an email.

The COVID-19 XE is a recombination of Omicron’s BA.1 and BA.2 subvariants. A recombinant virus is a combination of genetic material from two or more different viruses, in this case, the original version of Omicron and the more infectious “stealth Omicron”.

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The XE recombinant variant was first detected in the UK in mid-January, and since then 637 cases have been identified in the country. Limited cases have also been reported in China and Thailand. The location of XE COVID-19 infection, or how the infection occurred, was not disclosed.

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“This particular recombinant, XE, has shown a variable growth rate, and we cannot yet confirm whether it has a real growth benefit,” said Prof Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser to the UK Health Security Agency.

The World Health Organization (WHO), however, said that this version is believed to be 10 percent more permeable than the BA.2 version.

According to Hopkins, recombinant viruses are a fairly common occurrence, especially when there are multiple types in circulation. She notes that recombinants have been discovered throughout epidemics and, like other types, they die quickly.

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While provinces and territories have reduced or completely removed COVID-19 measures, the federal government’s surveillance program to identify different types of COVID-19 remains in place. In February 2021, the Government of Canada invested $53 million in the Variants of Concern strategy aimed at increasing surveillance, sequencing and better detecting variants.

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“Scientists from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), along with national and international experts, are actively monitoring and evaluating this recombinant sub-lineage and related studies,” a spokesperson for PHAC said.

The spokesperson confirmed that the agency is looking for indications that “XE alters disease severity, infectivity or affects the effectiveness of diagnostic tests, vaccines or treatments for COVID-19.” He drew on the WHO’s conclusion that the variant is more transmissible, but noted that more data is needed to confirm the level of transmission.

— With files from Reuters

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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