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New omicron XE COVID-19 variant has made its way to Japan

The omicron XE COVID-19 variant continues to spread across the world.

SHARE New omicron XE COVID-19 variant has made its way to Japan
An illustration of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The omicron XE COVID-19 variant continues to spread across the world.

Illustration by Michelle Budge, Deseret News

The new omicron XE COVID-19 variant has made its way to Japan, kicking off a new wave of coronavirus cases.

Is omicron XE in Japan?

Japan’s health ministry said Monday that the new XE variant — which was spreading in the United Kingdom — has hit Japan, CNBC reports.

  • It was first discovered by a woman in her 30s, who arrived at the Narita Airport.
  • Cases of the omicron XE variant have led to a recent COVID-19 surge in the United Kingdom.

What is the omicron XE variant?

Scientists said the new omicron XE variant is a recombinant that mixed the newer BA.2 variant of omicron — a subtype of the original omicron variant — and the original omicron variant strain, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

  • The recombinant variant emerged in people who were infected with two omicron variant strains at the same time.
  • Recombinants are not rare in the pandemic. Another example is the “deltacron” variant, which combines the delta variant and the omicron variant.

Will the omicron XE variant hit the United States?

It’s unclear. Experts remain unsure if the omicron XE variant will hit the United States.

  • Dr. Eric Topol, head of Scripps Research Translational Institute, told The Associated Press that the U.S. could see a surge of cases soon.
  • But Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House medical adviser on the coronavirus, said he doesn’t expect a new wave of cases just yet.