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New Delhi: The evidence doesn’t suggest the presence of COVID ‘XE’ mutant in India, government sources said on Wednesday and denied media reports that claimed the first case of the variant had been detected in the country.

The government sources said that FastQ files of the sample, being said to be ‘XE’ variant, was analysed by INSACOG (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium) which inferred that the genomic constitution of this variant doesn’t correlate with the genomic picture of ‘XE’.

“Present evidence does not suggest that it is ‘XE’ variant of COVID-19,” a source said.

The Greater Mumbai Municipal Corporation had earlier in the day said that “one patient is affected by ‘Kappa’ variant and another by ‘XE’ variant” based on regular testing of samples.

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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Author: Howard Caldwell