It would be the first time that a person has been infected with the virus.
Brazil, one of the countries hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic in the world, confirmed on Thursday the first infection by the new subvariant of omicron, known as omicron XE and originally identified in the United Kingdom in mid-January, official sources reported.
According to the Ministry of Health, the new variant, which is a combination of the original omicron and the subvariant omicron BA.2, was identified the day before in a genetic examination of a patient's sample performed by the Butantan Institute of Sao Paulo and confirmed by health authorities on Thursday.
"The portfolio maintains constant monitoring of the epidemiological scenario of Covid and reinforces the importance of the complete vaccination pattern to ensure maximum protection against the virus and prevent the advance of new variants in the country," the Ministry said in a statement.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), recombinant XE was first detected on January 19 in the United Kingdom, which has already accumulated more than 700 cases of the new subvariant, and early tests showed that it could be more transmissible.
With some 212 million inhabitants, Brazil is the second country in the world with the second highest number of deaths from the disease, with 660,973 fatalities, and the third with the third highest number of infected, already exceeding 30 million, although the rate of infection has been slowing down for several weeks.