Monday, April 04, 2022

Covid-19 outbreak: New XE variant possibly 10 per cent more transmissible than Omicron

The World Health Organisation is keeping an eye on a new strain of the Covid-19 Omicron variant which appears to be 10 per cent more transmissible than the Omicron variant.

XE was first detected in the United Kingdom on January 19 and over 600 cases have been reported and confirmed since.

The United Kingdom‘s Health Security Agency has said it is monitoring XE along with two other recombinants, XD and XF, which are made up of the Delta and BA.1 strains.

Meanwhile, China reported 13,000 Covid cases on Sunday, the most since the peak of the first pandemic wave over two years ago, as health officials said they have detected the new strain in the Shanghai area.

Officials in Suzhou, a city 30 minutes west of Shanghai, have detected a mutation of the Omicron variant not found in local or international databases, state media reported on Sunday.

“This means a new variant of Omicron has been discovered locally,” Xinhua said, citing health official Zhang Jun, deputy director of the Suzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here is what we know so far about the new variant.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSCA) said it was studying XE – a mutation of the BA. 1 and BA. 2 Omicron strains, referred to as a “recombinant”.

The new strain was first detected in the UK as of January 19 this year and is the most dominant strain at present, accounting for about 86 per cent of all the recent Covid cases.

The prevalence of Covid-19 in the UK has reached record levels, with about 1 in 13 people estimated to be infected with the virus in the past week, according to the latest figures.

Professor Susan Hopkins, the UKHSA’s chief medical Adviser transition lead, said that recombinant variants are not uncommon and usually die off “relatively quickly”.

“This particular recombinant, XE, has shown a variable growth rate and we cannot yet confirm whether it has a true growth advantage,“ Ms Hopkins said.

“So far there is not enough evidence to draw conclusions about transmissibility, severity or vaccine effectiveness.”


Despite UK experts saying it is too soon to determine its transmissibility than previous strains, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned XE may be the he most transmissible variant of SARS-CoV2 yet.

A recombinant variant occurs when an individual becomes infected with two or more variants at the same time, resulting in a mixing of their genetic material within a patient’s body.

This is not an unusual occurrence and several recombinant SARS-CoV-2 variants have been identified over the course of the pandemic, the UK scientists say.

However, it is important to monitor such variants closely to identify recombinants that may have immune-escape properties, meaning they can cause Covid-19 infection even in those who have been infected previously or those who have been vaccinated.

The global health body noted that until they can detect “significant” differences in transmission and disease characteristics, including severity, XE will remain categorised as part of the Omicron variant.

The newest variant of coronavirus does not lead to any severe symptoms, but it spreads rapidly.

Fatigue and dizziness are some of the initial symptoms, followed by headaches, sore throat, muscle soreness and fever.

But the most common symptoms of coronavirus such as the loss of smell and taste are rarely reported in people affected with the new Omicron variant.

Some other possible gastrointestinal signs like diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, stomach ache and others are quite common.


The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has identified two other new strains besides from the XE variant.

These two new recombinant strains have been given the names of XD and XF, with XD being a hybrid of Delta and BA. 1 variants of Omicron and XF being a combination of the UK Delta virus and the BA. 1 virus.

XD has been mostly detected in France, Denmark and Belgium and XF has been predominantly detected in Britain.


An interesting email just in

Welcome to Year 3 of the Chinese Virus. Here are some thoughts as we begin a new year under the Biden Build Back Broke Disintegration Plan:

* According to the American Petroleum Institute, we have enough oil in North America to fuel every single passenger car and long-haul truck for the next 430 years. We have enough natural gas to provide electricity for every business and household for the next 535 years and enough coal to provide electricity for about 500 years. So, don’t you think that in 430 years we will have developed alternative fuel sources? Why then did Joe Biden sacrifice America’s energy independence, cease all exploration for oil and gas, abandon pipeline development and drive up prices of gasoline, heating oil, and jet fuel and make us once again dependent on foreign oil?

* Isn’t it curious that in some states like California, Washington, Illinois, and New York, shoplifting of items less than $950 is not a crime but the Biden Build Back Better Spendalooza calls for hiring 87,000 IRS agents to monitor individual banking transactions of $600 or more? Fascinating.

* Someone needs to educate me as to how we are going to produce all the batteries needed to facilitate a transition away from fossil fuels to battery-driven vehicles when the basic ingredients for batteries are all found in rare minerals such as lithium, cobalt, and zinc and others, all of which must be mined in countries not exactly friendly to us. Also, if you have ever driven on the Cross Bronx Expressway or the 405 in Southern California and were stuck in traffic, how exactly will the repair truck reach a disabled vehicle before their battery dies…along with the batteries of all the other vehicles in traffic?

* When will construction start to build the 500,000 battery charging stations Joe Biden told us about? Where will they be situated? Won’t they be powered by burning fossil fuels?

* If you ever feel like you haven’t accomplished anything, try to remember that it took 20 years, thousands of dead American soldiers, trillions of dollars and four Presidents to replace the Taliban in Afghanistan with………. the Taliban.

* If you feel your job is hard and you are unappreciated, think about the poor slob who serves as the sign language interpreter for Joe Biden.

* Let me try to understand this: we can’t seem to find illegals to deport, but we can sure find them to give them money! How does that work?

* If there was a barnyard election, the pigs would always vote for the person that feeds them and gives them treats, even though that same person is going to slaughter them someday. That same philosophy is the very definition of socialism.

* Memo to Generation Z and the Woke Generation: The Stars and Stripes that fly over our Nation’s Capital and are wrapped around the coffins of our honored dead who sacrificed their lives to keep us free, is my Flag. I will never apologize for it. The Flag does not stand for skin color, race, or religion. It stands for freedom. Never forget that!

If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools. -- Plato


Don’t Cancel All Russians for Putin’s Crimes

Not even the famed Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich, who was a Soviet stooge, and the equally fabled German conductor Herbert von Karajan, who was a Nazi fellow traveller, were “canceled” in the West the way Russian artists, athletes, performers, and cultural icons are being censored, bullied, and shamed in the United States and Europe due to Vladimir Putin’s criminal actions in Ukraine.

Did we learn nothing about the immorality of attributing collective guilt from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s executive order setting up internment camps for American residents and citizens of Japanese descent in the U.S. during World War II?

The current “cancel” onslaught is indiscriminately hurting both Russians who openly oppose Putin’s immoral war and those whose political views aren’t known: people who likely have kept quiet out of fear. And fear they probably should, based on Putin’s recent tirade calling those who oppose his war “scum and traitors” and calling for the “cleansing” (or “self-detoxification”) of Russian society.

But some in the West are acting irrationally as well. Betraying a collectivist, almost totalitarian mentality, many in the West have decided that Putin incarnates the entire Russian people and that anyone of Russian origin should be held accountable for the cruelty of a tyrant whose actions they cannot stop.

The European Union, for example, has canceled all official sports and cultural events involving Russians and told cultural associations and sports federations that they are not to take measures against any private entity that bans an event involving Russian players or artists.

Anna Netrebko, perhaps the greatest living operatic soprano, has been forced to give up performances at La Scala in Italy, at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and at various other venues due to her personal relationship with Putin—despite her public statements opposing the war. Referring to the fact that many of her colleagues have been canceled because they didn’t condemn Russia immediately and forcefully enough, she has protested that “forcing artists and any public figure to publicly express their political views and condemn their homeland is unacceptable.”

Although some, such as Kirill Petrenko, director of the Berlin Philharmonic, have attacked Putin (he has been able to keep his job), others have not. One wishes they all had, since a tragedy of the magnitude befalling Ukraine should entail a moral obligation to take a stance no matter the risk.

But not every artist and athlete is a hero, and we don’t know whether some of those who have been silent, and whom we are holding responsible for Putin’s actions, may have relatives who are being forced to fight in Ukraine and justifiably might fear that attacking Putin or the Russian government could cause them harm—not from Ukrainian resistance fighters but from Putin subordinates.

So the canceling continues.

Young athletes from Russian sports clubs now banned from all international competitions may themselves face the horrific prospect of having to fight in a war they do not even understand. How do we justify placing on their shoulders the blame for Putin’s genocidal bombardment of Ukrainian cities?

Alexander Malofeev, the 20-year-old piano virtuoso, was not allowed to perform in Canada. The Cannes film festival has announced it will not be showing Russian movies. London’s Royal Opera House has canceled a season of performances by the Bolshoi Ballet. A lecture on Dostoevsky was suspended in Milan, even though the professor, Paolo Nori, is ... Italian!

The “canceling” goes beyond culture and sports: Representatives Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) have urged the Biden administration to expel all Russian students attending U.S. colleges, and not a day goes by without someone boycotting Russian vodka (although, ironically, several popular brands aren’t Russian at all—such as Smirnoff, which is made by a British company and distilled in the United States). Are we really supposed to believe that the cause of freedom, civilization, and humanity will be advanced by taking revenge on the fewer than 5,000 Russian students attending U.S. colleges and universities?

Russia’s contribution to the arts, and therefore to civilization in the 19th and 20th centuries, was nothing short of phenomenal. We do not hurt Russia as much as we hurt ourselves by demonizing Russian artists, athletes, and culture out of frustration with the fact that Putin is now doing on a grand scale what he’s been doing for two decades: terrorizing the Russian people, including those living in exile, and Russia’s neighbors, while Western governments tut-tutted, looked the other way, or sucked up to him and made themselves ever more dependent on Russian commodities.




1 comment:

Bob Smith said...

"Possibly 10%". Which, given the track record of these people, almost certainly means 0% or less. Not that 10% is meaningful in a disease that's less dangerous than the flu. This is scaremongering not medicine.