The director of the university’s Center for Virology Research says XE is a result of the combination of Omicron’s BA1 and BA2 variants.
Alireza Naji told ISNA that the new variant has a higher transmissibility than BA2 variant, but there is no information yet on the severity of illness or how much immunity previous vaccinations entail against it.
Naji said the XE variant’s spread might be wider than currently reported, stressing that Iran should strengthen its monitoring of new variants, which may occur but may not be traced by regular screenings.
The virologist also criticized the decision to reopen schools and universities immediately after the Nowruz holidays, which, he says, is itself expected to lead to a surge in the Covid cases.
He said the sixth wave of coronavirus is now on the decline in Iran but a surge is expected in the coming weeks, therefore time is ripe to begin administration of second booster jabs.