The Union’s health ministry said on Wednesday that current evidence does not suggest an XE variant of COVID, denying media reports claiming a case of the new mutant had been reported in Mumbai.
“Hours after reporting detection of Coronavirus XE variant in Mumbai,
@MoHFW_INDIA has said that the current evidence does not suggest the presence of the new variant,” PIB Maharashtra said in a tweet.
It referred to the Ministry of Health’s clarification on the reported case of COVID XE Variant in Mumbai.
The Department of Health said FastQ files related to the sample, said to be #XEVariant, were analyzed in detail by INSACOG genomic experts who concluded that the genomic constitution of this variant does not correlate with the genomic picture of ‘XE’ variant”.
The ministry said the person who tested positive for #XEVariant is a fully vaccinated 50-year-old woman with no comorbidities and asymptomatic.
“She had arrived from South Africa on Feb. 10 and had no previous travel history. She had tested negative for the virus on arrival,” it said.
Greater Mumbai Municipal Corporation had said earlier in the day that one of the 230 samples had tested positive for the XE variant in Mumbai under the COVID genome sequencing.
The World Health Organization had recently said a new COVID mutant ‘XE’ has been found in the UK and noted that it may be more transmissible than the BA.2 subline of COVID-19. However, the virologists in India have said it is not clear that the variant is strong enough to trigger another COVID wave in the country, even though they advised caution and follow COVID-appropriate behavior.
XE is recombinant from Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 sublines of COVID-19.
“The XE recombinant (BA.1-BA.2) was first detected in the UK on January 19 and 600 sequences have been reported and confirmed since then,” the WHO said.
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