‘Evidence doesn’t suggest presence of new variant’: Health Ministry sources on first Covid ‘XE’ case in India

IndiaTV-English News

Image Source : PTI

A health worker prepares a pediatric Covid-19 ward at a hospital.


  • Health Ministry sources say evidence yet don’t suggest presence of XE variant
  • Reports of new Covid variant XE first case being detected in Mumbai have surfaced
  • In INSACOG meeting it has been decided to send sequencing data to NIBMG for further analysis

Hours after Mumbai reported India’s first case of new Covid variant XE, the Union Health Ministry sources have said that the present evidence does not suggest the presence of the new variant.

“FastQ files in respect of the sample, which is being said to be ‘XE’ variant 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”, official sources in the Health Ministry said.

The individual who had tested positive for 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.

INSACOG experts are conducting genomic analysis of a coronavirus case reported as that of the highly transmissible XE variant by Mumbai civic officials, though scientific evidence so far does not indicate it to be so, official sources said.

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said that a woman who had arrived there from South Africa in February-end and tested positive for COVID-19 on March was infected with the XE variant, which was first detected in the UK.

However, official sources clarified, “Present evidence do not yet indicate that it is a case of XE variant.”

“Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) experts examined the FastQ files of the sample and have inferred that the genomic composition of this variant which infected the Mumbai woman does not correspond with the genomic composition of the XE variant,” an official source said.

“INSACOG is conducting a genomic analysis of the case after a follow-up declared XE positive case of COVID-19 in Mumbai,” the official source stated.

According to Mumbai civic officials, a case of the Kappa variant was also detected during a sero survey and added the results came in genome sequencing of 376 samples, the 11th batch of testing in the local genome sequencing lab.

According to the survey, Omicron variant was found in 228 out of 230 samples (99.13 per cent cases) from Mumbai, the official said.

The genome sequencing of 376 samples was conducted at the municipal Kasturba Hospital’s Genome Sequencing Lab. The condition of the patients infected with the new strains of the virus was not serious, the official said.

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