WHO records new SARS-CoV-2 variant

Contact Counsellor

WHO records new SARS-CoV-2 variant

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) has flagged the emergence of a new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the XE recombinant, in the United Kingdom
  • It will possibly have a higher rate of transmission

About new Variant

  • It is being named as XE by the U.K. Health Security Agency (UKHSA), which tracks SARS-CoV-2 variants
  • It is a recombinant of Omicron BA.1 and BA.2.
  • A recombinant variant occurs when an individual becomes infected with two or more variants at the same time, leading to a mixing of genetic material in the human body.
  • Several such recombinants have emerged in the past during the pandemic.

Other recombinant SARS-CoV-2 variants

  • Currently, there are four variants of concern identified.
  • They have been named Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta by the World Health Organisation (WHO)

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  • Delta variant: it is the name given to the SARS-Cov-2 virus variant first identified in India by Indian scientists.
  • It is also called SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617 and has about 15 – 16 mutations.
  • It was first reported in October 2020 in India
  • Another variant of concern added later was Omicron variant
  • It was first reported from South Africa.
  • The Omicron variant, like other variants, comprises a number of lineages and sublineages.
  • The three most common lineages of Omicron currently are BA.1, BA.1.1 and BA.2.

Exam track

Prelims takeaway

  • SARS-CoV-2
  • SARS
  • MERS
  • Delta variant
  • Omicron variant
  • XE