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SUNDAY, December 04, 2022
Thailand’s new XJ strain being analysed for severity, infectiousness

Thailand’s new XJ strain being analysed for severity, infectiousness

TUESDAY, April 05, 2022

Details of Thailand’s first suspected case of Omicron XJ variant have been released by the Public Health Ministry.

The patient is a 34-year-old parcel delivery man who likely came into contact with people infected with different Omicron variants, said Suphakit Sirilak, director-general of the Department of Medical Sciences.

The suspected XJ case was detected on February 22 and has already recovered. Information on the case has been sent to the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (Gisaid) to confirm whether it matches the genome for XJ.

XJ is a hybrid form of the BA.1 and BA.2 Omicron strains that was first discovered in Finland.

The “X” denotes a strain that has mutated when a person becomes infected with two Omicron variants.

So far, 17 different hybrid strains have been discovered, running from XA to XS. However, Gisaid currently recognises only three as true hybrids, namely XA, XB, and XC. The others are being analysed to confirm whether they are hybrids.

Meanwhile, scientists are still investigating XJ to find out if it is more contagious or severe than previous strains.

According to the Department of Medical Science, Omicron now accounts for 99.84 per cent of all new cases in Thailand, with 92.2 per cent caused by the BA.2 subvariant.

Suphakit urged people to avoid risky behaviours and protect themselves by wearing face masks, avoiding eating together, and getting a booster dose.