KO File Photo Abid Bhat

Srinagar- With India reporting two cases of new XE variant, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Tuesday said it is unlikely to cause a new wave of Covid-19.

“The new variant is not a cause of concern for us and there is no need to worry about it,” said DAK President and Influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan.

“First detected in United Kingdom in January 2022, XE is a recombinant variant, which means it is a hybrid version of two most prevalent Omicron strains – BA.1 and BA.2,” he said.

Dr Hassan said most of our population has already been exposed to these variants in the third wave which was triggered initially by BA.1 and later by BA.2. Almost all People have antibodies against these sub variants by way of prior infection

“With high vaccination rates and natural immunity, the possibility of having a wave due to this variant is less,” he said

The DAK President said the fact that there has been no significant increase in the incidence of the XE variant since its detection 3 months ago shows that it is not something to be bothered about.

Omicron appeared in November 2021, and it was all over the world in 4-5 weeks and replaced Delta which caused the second wave in April- May last year.

“XE has not done that. It doesn’t look like we have to worry about it,” he said.

“Recombinant variants are not an unusual occurrence, particularly when there are several variants in circulation,” said Dr Nisar.

Two other recombinant variants – XD and XF which are combinations of Delta and Omicron have also been identified.

He said recombinants tend to last for lesser time. Virus fitness does not increase by a recombinant event.

“Frequent changes in genome structure are part of the natural life course of viruses and there is no need to panic,” he added.

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