A new COVID-19 subvariant — which has genetic information from both the B.A.1 and B.A. 2 omicron sublineages — has been detected from a patient in Sendai, the health ministry said Thursday.

It marks the first case of a recombinant variant being found within Japan. The XE subvariant, another recombinant virus, was detected during an airport screening earlier this month.

The patient, whose gender and age were not disclosed for privacy reasons, had not traveled overseas in the 14 days prior to developing symptoms at the end of March. The same recombinant virus has not been found from the patient's close contacts.

The patient, whose symptoms were not severe, has already recovered, according to the ministry.

The National Institute of Infectious Diseases, which performed a genome analysis on the virus, is currently investigating how virulent or infectious it is, as well as checking with other municipalities to see if they have detected the same variant, the ministry said.