Covid – Omicron: contagious for more than 10 days with the XE variant, should the isolation rules be changed?

Currently, a vaccinated must isolate themselves for 7 days in the event of a positive test. But the XE variant that threatens Europe stays longer in the body.

After Omicronand BA.2here is the XE variant. A recombinant of two strains of Omicron – BA.1 and BA.2 – advertised as “10% more contagious” than its predecessor. So much so that some scientists are announcing that this variant could become dominant by this summer.

What we know today is that the XE variant is more contagious than BA.2, wrote on May 10. But, above all, it stays in the body longer, as the geneticist at Imperial College London, Philippe Froguel, explains: “We have a better chance of transmitting it, especially since today the isolation period is one week, whereas it is a variant that has great capacities to develop in the future”.

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Covid: the XE variant could become dominant in France this summer and that’s not reassuring

“The virus has more possibilities to spread more widely”

Basically, with the XE variant, the patient is infected longer than with the other variants. This is announced by Professor Denis Kinane, founding scientist of Cignpost Diagnostics, a major British supplier of Covid testing. The data for the XE variant show a PCR test positive for 10 days or more, much longer than the usual 6 seen for other strains, “which means that the virus has more possibilities to spread more widely”, he says in the columns of the Mirror. A professor who points to a declining level of testing and sequencing. In question, the end of the measures which, according to him, does not make it possible to fight against a variant with such characteristics.

A patient would thus be contaminating 10 days after his first symptoms and probably 3 or 4 days before the appearance of the latter.

And if the traffic in France is still at “low levels” (BA.2 represents 98.6% of the interpretable sequences according to Santé Publique France in its bulletin of May 13), the question of the means undertaken arises. Like that of sequencing to perfectly follow the evolution of this variant.

But also the rules of isolation. With Omicron and BA.2, isolation is 7 days in the event of a complete vaccination schedule. A duration that would lose all its relevance in the face of the 14 days mentioned.


after its first symptoms, and probably 3-4 days before.

This makes today’s one-week isolation period completely useless.

And, #SARS-CoV-2 not being seasonal (for those who do not follow), this #vague could break out in early summer.

— Xavier Hugonet (@XavierHugonet) May 10, 2022

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