Published April 4, 2022 in liverpoolecho.co.uk
By Kate Lally
Omicron BA.2, also known as the “stealth” variant due to its high transmission rate, is believed to have merged with another covid strain, creating a new XE variant of the virus.
A total of 637 cases of XE – a recombinant of Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 – have been confirmed in the UK so far. The earliest of these has a specimen date of January 19, 2022.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) says there is currently “insufficient evidence to draw conclusions about growth advantage or other properties” of this variant. XE will be monitored closely, the health agency said.
READ MORE: NHS confirms nine new covid symptoms
Professor Tim Spector, of the ZOE covid study, said on Thursday (March 31) that one in 15 people in the UK were infected with covid. A large number of these cases are believed to be Omicron BA.2.
According to the ZOE app, patients are reporting different symptoms to previous strains, and it is thought BA.2 could be attacking the gut. Six gut-related illnesses have been reported. These are:
- Abdominal pain
A previous ZOE study said diarrhoea had been noted as a symptom for Covid-19, but it was deemed a “less well-known” sign of the virus. At the time, it said an increase in gastrointestinal symptoms “doesn’t appear to be linked with those who test positive”.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that BA.2 is definitely more transmissible than BA.1 but the severity level of both the variants is the same. If there is another Omicron surge, WHO said, we will see more of BA.2 next time.