Hours after detection of XE variant of Covid-19, new evidence comes to light. See details

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The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Wednesday came out with a clarification on the reported case of Covid-19 XE Variant in Mumbai. This development came just hours after the report of detection of XE variant of Coronavirus in the financial capital. The Health Ministry has said present evidence does not suggest the presence of the new variant.

“The individual who had tested positive for #XEVariant is a fully vaccinated 50-year-old women 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,” According to PIB in Maharashtra tweet.

Additionally, the tweet notified, “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.”

This comes in the wake of health experts on Wednesday already downplaying apprehensions around XE variant case and said despite being around since January, the strain has not propelled a surge in cases like Omicron, but advised strict adherence to Covid-19-appropriate behaviour. 

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday said a woman who had arrived here from South Africa in February and tested positive for COVID-19 was found infected with the XE variant, which was first detected in the UK. This was the first XE case in Mumbai, as per news agency PTI report.

Official sources in New Delhi clarified, “present evidence do not yet indicate that it is a case of XE variant.” According to the Maharashtra health department, the XE variant was found in the 50-year-old woman, a South African national, who came here on February 10 and was tested on February 27 for COVID-19 with her test returning a positive result. Her lab sample was referred to Kasturba Hospital Central laboratory for genome sequencing. 

“It has been found to be a new XE variant in initial sequencing. Though GISAID also confirmed it, INSACOG (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium) has decided to go for another round of genomic sequencing at a national laboratory for sure confirmation of XE variant,” the department said. The woman was asymptomatic and found to be RT-PCR negative on repeat testing, the health department added. 

(With inputs from agencies)

 

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