India reports first case of new COVID variant Omicron XE
- The XE variant was detected in Mumbai
- A Kappa case of detected in the 230 samples tested
- The XE is a mutant of BA.1 and BA.2 Omicron
India's first case of the Omicron XE variant of COVID-19 was detected in Mumbai on Wednesday, a civic health official confirmed. One case of the Kappa variant was detected too. The condition of the patients infected with the new strains of the virus was not serious, the official said.
However, soon PTI citing officials reported that there was no scientific evidence to declare the case as Omicron XE.
The positive result for Omicron XE and Kappa variant came in genome sequencing of 376 samples, the 11th batch of testing in genome sequencing lab, the official said.
Two hundred and twenty eight of the 230 samples were Omicron. One was found to be Kappa variant and another XE variant.
"Results of 11th test under the Covid virus genetic formula determination - 228 or 99.13% (230 samples) patients detected with Omicron. One patient affected by 'XE' variant and another is affected by the 'Kapa' variant of COVID19," ANI tweeted, quoting the Greater Mumbai Municipal Corporation.
The official further added that the XE mutant appears to be 10% more transmissible than the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron. So far, BA.2 was deemed to be the most contagious of all the COVID-19 variants.
What is XE?
First detected in the UK, the XE variant is the new mutant of the novel coronavirus. The World Health Organization said that it appeatrs to be more transmissible than the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron.
The XE is a mutant of BA.1 and BA.2 Omicron.
"It belongs to the Omicron variant until significant differences in transmission and disease characteristics, including severity, may be reported," the WHO said in its latest weekly epidemiological report released on March 29.