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Evidence doesn't suggest presence of XE COVID variant in India, says Health Ministry

Mumbai (Maharashtra) : The Union Health Ministry on Wednesday said that the present evidence does not suggest the presence of XE variant of COVID denying media reports that claimed that a case of the new mutant was reported in Mumbai. "Hours after report of detection of XE variant of Coronavirus in Mumbai, @MoHFW_INDIA has said present evidence does not suggest the presence of the new variant," PIB Maharashtra said in a tweet. It referred to the Health Ministry clarification on the reported case of COVID XE Variant in Mumbai. The Health Ministry said FastQ files in respect of the sample, which is being said to be #XEVariant were analysed in detail by genomic experts of INSACOG who have inferred that the genomic constitution of this variant does not correlate with the genomic picture of 'XE' variant". The ministry said the individual who had tested positive for #XEVariant is a fully vaccinated 50-year-old woman 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," it said. Greater Mumbai Municipal Corporation had said earlier in the day that one out of the 230 samples had tested positive for the XE variant in Mumbai under the COVID genome sequencing. The World Health Organisation had recently said that a new COVID mutant 'XE' has been found in the UK and noted that it may be more transmissible than the BA.2 sublineage of COVID-19. However, the virologists in India have said that it is not clear that the variant is strong enough to cause another COVID wave in the country even as they advised to exercise caution and follow COVID-appropriate behaviour. XE is recombinant of Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 sublineages of COVID-19. "The XE recombinant (BA.1-BA.2), was first detected in the United Kingdom on January 19 and >600 sequences have been reported and confirmed since," the WHO had said.

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