New Delhi, April 6
Union Health Ministry officials on Wednesday night said the probable case of XE Covid variant reported by Maharashtra did not correlate with the highly transmissible mutant first detected in the UK.
“The sample said to be XE variant was analysed in detail by genomic experts at the INSACOG. They have inferred that the genomic constitution of this variant does not correlate with the genomic picture of XE variant,” ministry sources said.
The statement came after the Maharashtra Government flagged what it called a probable XE variant case in Mumbai. “New XE variant has been found in a 50-year-old woman, a South African national. The woman came to India on February 10 from South Africa. She was tested on February 27 for Covid and found positive. Her lab sample was referred to Kasturba Hospital laboratory for genome sequencing. It was found to be a new XE variant in initial sequencing,” the the Maharashtra Government said in its Covid bulletin.
WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said there was an indication of XE being 10 per cent or more transmissible than Omicron variant BA.2. But as of today, there was no evidence or even an indication that XE was causing more severe illness, she said. —