No Covid XE variant in India yet, government clarifies

WION Web Team
New Delhi Updated: Apr 07, 2022, 03:50 PM(IST)

Representative image Photograph:( IANS )

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XE is recombinant of Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 sublineages of COVID-19.

The Indian government has denied reports of the first case of XE variant of Covid in western Maharashtra state.

The response came hours after the state government said it detected India’s first XE variant in Mumbai city.

"Hours after report of detection of XE variant of Coronavirus in Mumbai, @MoHFW_INDIA has said present evidence does not suggest the presence of the new variant," PIB Maharashtra said in a tweet, referring to the clarification by the Union health ministry.


XE is recombinant of Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 sublineages of COVID-19.

The health ministry said the individual who supposedly tested positive for XE variant is a fully vaccinated 50-year-old woman with no comorbidity and asymptomatic.

According to reports, she had come from South Africa on February 10 and had no prior travel history. Her identity has been kept confidential.

Also read | Explainer: WHO warns about new Omicron hybrid XE: Is it more transmissible?

The ministry reportedly clarified that the woman had tested negative for the virus upon arrival.

So far, only UK had detected the XE variant. According to the World Health Organisation, the new Covid may be more transmissible than the BA.2 sublineage of COVID-19.

"The XE recombinant (BA.1-BA.2), was first detected in the United Kingdom on January 19 and 600 sequences have been reported and confirmed since," the WHO had said.

Also read | COVID-19: India detects first case of Omicron XE variant in Mumbai

“Early estimates based on limited preliminary data suggest that XE has a community growth rate advantage of about 10% as compared to BA.2. However, this finding requires further confirmation. Some media have misreported the potential growth advantage of 10% as 10 times. This is incorrect. If the 10% increase in growth is confirmed, this variant would be 1.1 times more transmissible, not 10 times,” the UN health body said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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