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How to know if you’re at risk for omicron XE

Could the omicron variant’s subvariant put you at risk?

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An illustration of the coronavirus.

Could the omicron variant’s subvariant put you at risk?

Illustration by Michelle Budge

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.