XE variant of Covid not a point of concern so far, says top virologist Gagandeep Kang

Updated on Apr 07, 2022 11:11 PM IST

Dr Gagandeep Kang, a leading microbiologist and professor at Christian Medical College in Vellore, said in a vaccinated population, XE variant was not something to be bothered about.

A day ago, Mumbai's civic body said it had detected the first case of XE infection, also the first case of the variant in India. (File image)
A day ago, Mumbai's civic body said it had detected the first case of XE infection, also the first case of the variant in India. (File image)
Written by Shubhangi Gupta | Edited by Sohini Goswami, New Delhi

India’s top virologist on Thursday dismissed concerns over XE, a new variant of Covid-19, stating that it is unlikely to cause any more severity than other sub-variants of Omicron (BA.1 and BA.2) did.

Dr Gagandeep Kang, a leading microbiologist and professor at Christian Medical College in Vellore, said in a vaccinated population, XE variant was not something to be bothered about.

“Variants will come because people are travelling. Of what we know of the variant (XE) is that it is not a point of concern,” news agency PTI quoted Kang as saying.

Kang was speaking on the sidelines of a panel discussion organised by John Hopkins Gupta-Klinsky India Institute in Delhi.

The XE variant was first detected in the United Kingdom. In its warning, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had suggested that the new variant –  a combination or recombinant of both sub-variants (BA.1 and BA.2) of Omicron – could be more transmissible than any Covid strain so far.

Also read | India reports first XE Covid case: Everything you need to know about the variant

A day ago, Mumbai's civic body said it had detected the first case of XE infection, also the first case of the variant in India.

However, the Union health ministry said the sample which was being said to be XE variant was analysed in detail by genome experts of the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), who inferred that the genomic constitution of this variant did not correlate with the genomic constitution of XE variant.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope said his department had not yet received any confirmation regarding the XE variant and would not be able to issue a confirmation on the same.

"As per information, XE variant is 10% more infectious than the Omicron variant. We will talk more about it in detail after getting a report. Since we have not received a confirmatory report from the Centre or NIB, Maharashtra health department does not confirm it," Rajesh Tope told news agency ANI.

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