First case of XE variant detected in NSW
Posted On April 15, 2022
New South Wales has detected a case of the XE variant which is Australia’s first known case of the COVID-19 sub-variant.
NSW Health authorities reported that the case of XE was detected in a recently returned overseas traveller last week.
It was confirmed in the weekly COVID-19 surveillance report NSW Health releases.
“This is the first XE sequence to be identified in NSW and was identified in a recently returned traveller,” NSW Health said in the report.
“Another recombinant BA.1/BA.2 sequence has previously been identified but it was not of the XE lineage.”
There is little data yet on the transmissibility or severity of the new sub-variant.
The World Health Organisation did note last month that XE may be 10 per cent more transmissible than the currently dominant BA.2 Omicron sub-variant.
The Omicron BA.2 sub-variant has been the dominant infection in NSW for several weeks.
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NSW Health prioritises the genomic sequencing of people hospitalised and admitted to ICU with COVID-19.
“Therefore the proportion of VOCs (variants of concern) is not necessarily reflective of their distribution in the community,” NSW Health said in the report.