India Detects First ‘XE’ COVID-19 variant In Mumbai

The first case of the ‘XE’ variant of COVID-19 was detected in Mumbai, according to the statement by the Greater Mumbai Municipal Corporation on Wednesday.

However, the Union Health Ministry is yet to confirm the detection of the first XE variant in the country.

According to the sources, the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) is doing a deep genomic analysis of the case as a follow-up declared XE positive by BMC.

The results for the 11th test under the COVID genome sequencing were announced today. As many as 230 samples were tested, out of which 228 tested Omicron variant positive and one was ‘Kapa’ variant positive. One sample tested positive for the ‘XE’ variant of COVID-19.

“Covid virus samples from 230 patients in Mumbai have been studied in the 11th batch and its results have been announced. It found 228, or 99.13 per cent, patients with Omicron. It was concluded that one of the other two victims was affected by the ‘Kapa’ variant and the other by the ‘XE’ variant,” said the statement.

However, the 21 patients who were hospitalised and tested positive did not need oxygen support or intensive care, as per the statement.

According to the sources, the patient is a costume designer by profession and a member of the shooting crew. As per guidelines regular testing was carried out. She arrived from South Africa on February 10. She does not have any travel history prior to that and is vaccinated with both doses of the Comirnaty vaccine.

On arrival in India, she was negative for COVID-19. However, on March 2, in routine testing, she was found positive and was quarantined in a hotel room at Taj Lane End hotel. The result of the test done on the next day, i.e. on March 3 was negative.

Speaking to ANI earlier, Dr Pragya Yadav Top Scientist, ICMR- NIV said that the XE variant is being closely monitored by the WHO.

“XE belongs to the Omicron variant until significant differences in transmission and disease characteristics, including severity, may be reported. The variant is being closely monitored by WHO for the public health risk associated,” she said.

Notably, the variant was first detected in the United Kingdom on January 19. XE is recombinant of Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 sublineages of COVID-19.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO)’s latest report, the new mutant called XE may be more transmissible than any strain of COVID-19 reported so far. (ANI)

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