India confirms first case of new Omicron variant XE in Mumbai
As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), the new ‘XE’ variant of Covid-19 appears to be about ten per cent more transmissible than the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron.
India on Wednesday reported its very first case of the new XE variant of coronavirus, which is a hybrid mutant strain from Mumbai. According to reports, the XE variant is said to be a hybrid strain of two Omicron sub-variants - BA.1 and BA.2.
Of the 376 samples tested in Mumbai, one turned positive for the XE variant and the other for the Kappa variant, India Today reported.
Of 230 samples, 228 samples are of Omicron variant and the remaining were 1 kappa variant and 1 XE variant. As per the report, the condition of the patients infected with the new strains of the virus were not serious.
As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), the new ‘XE’ variant of Covid-19 appears to be about ten per cent more transmissible than the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron. The WHO has also warned that BA.2, which is a subvariant of the Omicron strain, is the most dominant strain of the virus, being 86 per cent of all sequenced cases attributed to it.
While XE only accounts for a small fraction of the cases, it’s extremely high transmissibility could mean that it becomes the most dominant strain in the near future.
The new mutant XE was first detected in the United Kingdom (UK) on January 19. “The XE recombinant (BA.1-BA.2), was first detected in the UK on January 19 and less than 600 sequences have been reported and confirmed since,” noted WHO in a report published earlier this week.
“Early-day estimates indicate a community growth rate advantage of 10 percent as compared to BA.2, however, this finding requires further confirmation,” WHO said about the XE variant.
According to the global health body, until significant differences in characteristics, such as severity and transmission, are noted in the XE mutant, it will continue to be classified as part of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.