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Omicron XE variant not registered in Russia yet: Expert

No cases of the Omicron XE variant of the novel coronavirus have been registered in Russia yet, the director of the Smorodintsev Research Institute of Influenza, Dmitry Lioznov, has told reporters.

“For the time being, there have been no confirmed cases of this [XE] variant and other recombinant variants of SARS-CoV-2. It should be noted that emergence of recombinant forms of viruses is a widespread and natural event. For the time being, at least nine recombinant strains have been identified,” he said.

The recombinant variant of the Omicron XE strain consists of fragments of the BA.1 and BA.2 sub-lines, with most of its genome related to BA.2, or “stealth Omicron,” which was earlier declared the most contagious of all by
the World Health Organization, reports AFP.

The Omicron XE variant was discovered in the United Kingdom on January 19, 2022. According to the preliminary estimates of the World Health Organization, the new coronavirus strain may turn out to be the most
contagious ever. However, this theory is yet to be confirmed.

According to the director of the Smorodintsev Research Institute of Influenza, vaccination remains the most efficient way to prevent infectious diseases, their complications and negative consequences.

“Sputnik V has proven its efficacy against both variants of the omicron strain, BA.1 and BA.2, and helps to prevent severe cases of COVID-19,” he said.

According to the federal anti-coronavirus crisis center, the number of confirmed cases in Russia grow by 10,910 on Tuesday, reaching 18,018,825. A total of 4,233 people have been hospitalized in the reported period, up
204.5% since Monday. The omicron strain accounts for over 96% of all detected cases, the delta strain – for 1.5%, Russia’s sanitary watchdogRospotrebnadzor said on its website on Tuesday.