No need to panic, says Maharashtra Covid task force member on XE variant

Updated on Apr 06, 2022 08:17 PM IST
  • Dr Shashank Joshi said the Mumbai XE mutant case had occurred in the first week of March and it was detected in an international traveller who had now fully recovered. It was only the genome sequencing data that came out on Wednesday.
Representational image.(Vijay Bate/HT Photo)
Representational image.(Vijay Bate/HT Photo)
By | Written by Sohini Goswami, New Delhi

A member of the Maharashtra government’s Covid-19 task on Wednesday said there was no need to panic about the detection of the highly transmissible XE variant of the coronavirus in Mumbai, a first in India, while urging citizens to continue to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour.

Dr Shashank Joshi said the Mumbai XE mutant case had occurred in the first week of March and it was detected in an international traveller who had now fully recovered. It was only the genome sequencing data of the city civic body that came out on Wednesday.

“Mumbai XE variant case occurred in first week in March from an international travellor who fully recovered but Genomic data is out today. No need to panic, follow covid appropriate behavior,” he said.

He further wrote, quoting official sources the sample that was being said to be ‘XE’ variant – a hybrid strain of two Omicron sub variants – was analysed in detail by experts of Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) and they had “inferred that the genomic constitution of this variant does not correlate with the genomic picture of 'XE' variant”.

In its bulletin, the Maharashtra health department said the new variant detected in a vaccinated 50-year-old woman, South African citizen, with no comorbidity and asymptomatic.

She had come from South Africa on February 10 and had no prior travel history. On arrival, she had tested negative for the virus, but was found infected when tested days later.

Also read | What are the symptoms of new mutation

"Her lab sample has been referred to Kasturba Hospital Central laboratory for WGS. It has been found to be a new XE variant in initial sequencing. Though GISAID also confirmed it, INSACOG has decided to go for another round of genomic sequencing at National laboratory for sure confirmation of XE variant. The lady is totally asymptomatic found to be RTPCR negative on repeat testing, the statement added.

Also read | All you need to know about new Covid variant ‘XE’

"Frequent changes in genomic structure are part of the natural life course of the viruses and there is no need of scare but everyone should opt for appropriate precaution," it added.

Mumbai reported 51 new cases of Covid-19 in the last few hours, taking the overall tally to 10,57,314. The statewide figures stood at 78,74,690 with 108 new infections.

(With inputs from agencies)

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