The omicron XE variant continues to spread throughout the world, gaining more attention from those in the United States. But is it something to worry about?
Driving the news: Medical experts told Time magazine that there’s some cause for concern with the omicron XE variant — a recombinant variant of the BA.2 omicron variant and the original omicron variant strain — for those who have health conditions and who are unvaccinated.
What they said: “Like everything in the SARS-CoV-2 era, there’s no simple answer,” Dr. Andrew Badley, a professor of infectious disease at the Mayo Clinic, told Time magazine.
- “But to make it a simple answer: if you’re vaccinated and otherwise healthy, you shouldn’t worry about it. If you’re not vaccinated or have co-morbidities, there’s a cause for concern.”
The bigger picture: Omicron XE — the omicron variant’s subvariant — has been around since January, but cases are still popping up throughout the world.
- Japan’s health ministry said Monday that the new XE variant has reached Japan by way of a traveler who arrived at the Narita Airport.
- The United Kingdom has seen a slew of omicron XE cases, creating an uptick in COVID-19 cases there.
- Experts are unsure if the omicron XE variant will make a dent in the United States, which has high natural immunity and vaccinations after the omicron variant surge, as I wrote for the Deseret News.
Yes, but: Authorities with the United Kingdom Health Service Agency are still monitoring omicron XE because there is not much known about it yet.
What they’re saying: “This particular recombinant, XE, has shown a variable growth rate and we cannot yet confirm whether it has a true growth advantage. So far there is not enough evidence to draw conclusions about transmissibility, severity or vaccine effectiveness,” professor Susan Hopkins, UKHSA’s chief medical advisor, told CNBC.