The XE vairant is the subvariant of Omicron Covid-19.It is a mutation of the BA.1 and BA.2 Omicron strains, referred to as a ‘recombinant’A threatening situation has begun to loom in the country as India reported the first case of a new variant of Covid-19 on Wednesday. The first case of the XE variant has come at a time when the Covid cases are on the wane.
XE variant which is considered to be more transmissible was detected in a 50-year-old woman who had travelled to South Africa in February. According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the woman was asymptomatic and had no comorbidities. She had been vaccinated with both doses of the COMIRNATY vaccine, the civic body added.
The XE vairant is the subvariant of Omicron Covid-19.It is a mutation of the BA.1 and BA.2 Omicron strains, referred to as a “recombinant”. As per the initial studies, the XE variant has a growth rate of 9.8% over that of BA.2, also known as the stealth variant because of its ability to evade detection. The World Health Organization has said the latest mutant may be more transmissible than the previous ones.
The WHO said in its latest update that the 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 Covid variant symptoms
Some of the symptoms of XE Covid variants include fatigue, dizziness, headaches, sore throat, fever, heart ailment, and palpitation.
So is there a threat from XE?
As of now, there is no evidence to show that the XE variant is significantly different from the other varieties of Omicron.
What has been noticed is that XE could be about 10 per cent more transmissible than the dominant BA.2 variant. But that is a very small advantage that XE has, and even this has not been confirmed as of now.
The fact that there has been no significant increase in the incidence of the XE variant since its detection three months ago shows that it might not be a big worry at present.
The clinical manifestation of the XE variant has not been found to be any different from BA.1 or BA.2. It has, so far, not been found to cause a more severe form of the disease compared to other Omicron varieties. As such, the XE variant is not being considered different from Omicron.
Will the XE variant of Covid-19 come to India?
It would not be surprising if the XE variant is indeed found in India — in the Mumbai woman, or in some other patient at a later stage. Travel restrictions have been mostly done away with, and international air travel is back to almost where it was in the pre-pandemic period.
Also, the possibility of XE, or any other recombinant variety of Omicron, developing within the Indian population cannot be ruled out. It is also possible that the XE variant is already circulating in the Indian population, but is yet to be detected.
covid 19 xe variant india
The Maharashtra government and the Centre appeared to be at loggerheads on Wednesday over the announcement of the first domestic case of Omicron-XE variant, the most transmissible Covid-19 strain to date.While the BMC claimed in Mumbai it had found the XE strain in the sample of a South African costume designer who tested positive in Mumbai over a month back, central agencies said the diagnosis was wrong.
At the end of the day, the Maharashtra government said GISAID (global genomic data) had confirmed XE, while INSACOG (the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium) has decided to go for another round of genomic sequencing at the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics (NIBMG), West Bengal, for confirmation. A note given by the state government said, “Mumbai has a probable XE case.”
The Mumbai patient is a 50-year-old costume designer who returned from South Africa in February. She tested positive for Covid on March 2, the BMC said in its release.
The new strain was detected in the UK at the start of the new year. Britain’s health agency said on April 3 that XE was first detected on January 19 and 637 cases of the new variant have been reported in the country so far.
XE is a “recombinant” which is a mutation of BA’1 and BA.2 Omicron strains. Recombinant mutations emerge when a patient is infected by multiple variants of Covid. The variants mix up their genetic material during replication and form a new mutation, UK experts said in a paper published in British Medical Journal.
The World Health Organisation had said that the new mutation XE appears to be 10 per cent more transmissible than the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron.