Genomic analysis of the COVID-19 XE variant sample from Gujarat is still ongoing and the results are expected soon, Union Health Ministry sources said on Saturday.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a warning against XE, a new variant of Omicron first detected in the UK, and suggested it may be more transmissible than any strain of COVID-19 so far.
The XE variant is a combination or a recombinant of the two sub-variants – BA.1 and BA.2 – of Omicron.
Gujarat has reported its first case of the XE variant after a man from Mumbai tested positive for COVID-19 while visiting Vadodara, a state official has said.
Earlier, officials from the Mumbai civic body said a woman who arrived from South Africa in late February and tested positive in March had been infected with the XE variant, but the health ministry did not confirm that. it was so.
The ministry said Wednesday evening that current evidence does not yet indicate it is the XE variant.
”Experts from the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) reviewed the FastQ files of the sample and concluded that the genomic composition of this variant that infected the Mumbai woman does not match the genomic composition of the XE variant,’ an official source had said, adding that INSACOG was carrying out a genomic analysis of the Mumbai sample.
The sources said that genomic analysis of the XE variant sample from Gujarat is ongoing and the results are expected soon.
Vadodara Municipal Corporation Medical Officer Devesh Patel said a man from Santa Cruz in Mumbai, tested positive for COVID-19 on March 12 while visiting Vadodara. His wife accompanied him.
According to the results of the genome sequencing of his sample received on Friday, it appears that he was infected with the new mutant XE, a subvariant of Omicron, he said.
The man had visited Vadodara for works and had stayed in a hotel. After developing a fever, he got tested for COVID-19 at a private lab, which came back positive, Patel said.
”He was found positive on March 12. His sample was sent for genome sequencing. According to the result, reported yesterday, he was found to be infected with a new XE mutant variant,’ he said.
He had provided the local address of his relatives for his sample and returned to Mumbai alone soon after. No other status of the patient is known to local authorities, Patel added.
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