homehealthcare NewsNew COVID variant XE found in India, first case reported in Mumbai
healthcare | Apr 6, 2022 5:37 PM IST

New COVID variant XE found in India, first case reported in Mumbai

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XE is a combination or recombinant of both sub-variants (BA.1 and BA.2) of Omicron. The BA.2 sub-lineage has been driving cases of COVID-19 in the US, UK, and China.

India's first case of coronavirus variant XE was reported in Mumbai, which is a mutation of strains of the Omicron variant. Early indications suggest it could be around 10 percent more transmissible than other Omicron mutations.

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A woman who arrived from South Africa in February was found to have this Omicron sub-variant, officials of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said, adding that she was asymptomatic and recovered from the infection.
Besides, a case of the Kappa variant of coronavirus was also detected during a sero-survey, a BMC official said, adding the results came in genome sequencing of 376 samples, the 11th batch of testing in the local genome sequencing lab. Kappa cases have been found in the city earlier too, she added.
As per the sero-survey, Omicron was found in 228 out of 230 samples (99.13 percent) collected from Mumbai. One case was of XE, and another of Kappa. The genome sequencing of 376 samples was conducted at the municipal Kasturba Hospital's Genome Sequencing Lab. The condition of the patients found infected with the new strains of the virus was not serious, the official said.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), XE recombinant (BA.1-BA.2) was first detected in the UK on January 19 and more than 600 sequences have been reported and confirmed since then.
XE is a combination or recombinant of both sub-variants (BA.1 and BA.2) of Omicron. The BA.2 sub-lineage has been driving cases of COVID-19 in the US, UK, and China.
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"Early-day estimates indicate a community growth rate advantage of 10 percent as compared to BA.2. However, this finding requires further confirmation," it said.
The Geneva-based UN health agency said XE belongs to the Omicron variant until significant differences in transmission and disease characteristics, including severity, may be reported.
"WHO continues to closely monitor and assess the public health risk associated with recombinant variants, alongside other SARS-CoV-2 variants, and will provide updates as further evidence becomes available," it said.
The WHO has said further data is required before more can be said about the mutation. It said: "Early-day estimates indicate a community growth rate advantage of 10 percent as compared to BA.2.
"However this finding requires further confirmation. XE belongs to the Omicron variant until significant differences in transmission and disease characteristics, including severity, may be reported."
A UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) study recently revealed that currently as many are 3 hybrid COVID variants are circulating. The two different combinations of Delta and BA.1 are XD and XF. The third is XE.
What are its symptoms?
The symptoms that are presented in infection would be dependent on the vaccination status and seropositivity of the individual. Common symptoms include fever, sore throat, scratchy throat, cough and cold, skin irritation and discolouration, and gastrointestinal distress, among others.
Depending on the severity of the disease, patients may also experience other symptoms such as heart ailment, palpitation and nerve diseases.
How many cases have been found?
The variant was first detected on January 19 and since then at least 600 genomic sequences have been confirmed as having been infected by the recombinant. The recombinant formed when the two variants were present in the same human cell, and the viral genome ‘recombined’ together.
Though the WHO has stated that other characteristics of the variant appear to be the same as the Omicron variant, the XE variant may be recategorised if significant differences arise among transmission and other disease characteristics.
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