A new Covid variant has been found in the UK, experts have confirmed. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said it was looking at the XE variant, which is a mutation of the BA.1 and BA.2 Omicron strains.
It is what is known as a 'recombinant'. Experts at the UKHSA say it's too early to know whether it is more transmissible than previous versions of the virus.
The body said 637 cases of XE had been detected in England as of March 22. That would make it only a fraction of the tens of thousands of total cases being reported each day at the moment, The Independent reports.
The UKHSA said that initial growth rates for XE were not much different from BA.2. However, more recent data, up to March 16, showed a rate of nearly 10 per cent above BA.2, which has been called 'Stealth' Omicron.