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.
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Will the omicron XE variant hit the United States?

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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.
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