'No Evidence': Centre Denies BMC Claim of 1st Case of COVID Variant XE in India

The Health Ministry said that the “present evidence does not suggest the presence of the new variant”.

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The Greater Mumbai Municipal Corporation on Wednesday, 6 April, indicated that the city had detected its first case of Omicron's new sub-variant, XE. However, the Union Health ministry soon issued a clarification, saying that the "present evidence does not suggest the presence of the new variant."

According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), a 50-year old patient, a costume designer who was a member of a shooting crew, arrived from South Africa on 10 February. On arrival, she was asymptomatic and had tested negative for COVID-19.

The fully-vaccinated patient had no previous travel history and after undergoing the regular tests as per protocol, she tested COVID-positive on 27 February.

The BMC said that during routine testing, the patient was positive again on 2 March and was quarantined at a hotel in Bandra, where she recovered fully in two days, reported IANS.


"FastQ files in respect of the sample, which is being said to be #XEVariant were analysed in detail by genomic experts of INSACOG who have inferred that the genomic constitution of this variant does not correlate with the genomic picture of 'XE' variant," the Ministry of Health said, as per PIB Maharashtra.

Earlier, the Greater Mumbai Municipal Corporation said:

"Results of 11th test under the Covid virus genetic formula determination - 228 or 99.13% (230 samples) patients detected with Omicron. One patient affected by 'XE' variant and another is affected by the 'Kapa' variant of COVID19 [sic]."

This comes on a day when the BMC declared that the city's entire population above the age of 18 years had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.


New Variant 10% More Infectious: WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) had said earlier that the XE variant seemed to be 10 percent more infectious as compared to the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron.

The XE variant, which is a recombinant of BA.1 and BA.2 Omicron strains, was first detected in England on 19 January this year. As many as 637 cases of the variant have been identified in the country since then, PTI reported.

The British Health Security Agency said that the XE variant was showing evidence of community transmission in England, although it accounts for less than 1 percent of total sequenced cases so far.

(With inputs from PTI, IANS.)

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Topics:  COVID-19   Mumbai COVID-19   xe variant 

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