Covid-19: a new sub-variant of Omicron isolated in Italy
The family of the Covid-19 variant Omicron continues to grow: in Italy a new mix of its two sub-variants has been found, one of the recombined that appear when the two different versions of the same virus coexist in one person. It emerged in Veneto and is the third recombined isolated in less than two weeksafter XJ appeared in Finland and identified in Calabria and XF, sequenced in Emilia Romagna.
The new recombined does not yet have a name and was isolated between March and April and due to its characteristics it is distinguished from both XJ and XE and at the moment its diffusion on the regional territory is not known. There are already many examples of the evolution of the Sars-CoV-2 virus, as evidenced by the long series of recombinants identified so far all over the world. They are called XA, XB, XC, XH and XE, and all are the result of the combination of Omicron’s sub-variants.
Omicron, a new isolated sub-variant in Italy
To these are added XD and XF, born instead from the combination of the Omicron and Delta variants; there is also XQ, isolated in Great Britain, while XG has been identified in Denmark and XK in Belgium. This is another example of how the Omicron variant continue to evolve and how it does so very quickly, which are its emerging characteristics. It was first discovered in November 2021 in Botswana and a few days later it was immediately recognized as a variant to be kept under observation.
It quickly became one of the dominant variants of Covid-19, replacing the Delta variant that was dominant up until that time and began to give rise to its sub-variants BA.1 and BA.2, which is currently the most contagious. Then the BA3,4 and 5 identified in South Africa and in many European and Asian countries. The Omicron variant is so infectious because of the large number of mutations, as many as 60 which are new from the original virus, first isolated in Wuhan.
Of these 60 mutations, well 32 are found in the Spike protein, with which the virus attaches itself to human cells. In addition to this wealth of mutations, BA.2 has 28 that differentiate it from BA.1 and to which it probably owes being 30% to 50% more infectious.
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