India's first case of Coronavirus variant XE was reported in Mumbai on Wednesday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has said in a media release. One case of the Kappa variant has also been detected. Patients with the new variants of the virus don't have any severe symptoms so far.
The new mutant may be more transmissible than any strain of Covid-19, the World Health Organisation had said last week. Official sources from the union home ministry, however, disagreed, saying the present evidence does not suggest that it is XE variant.
"The patient had foreign travel history and we put the patient's sample for genome sequencing along with 230 samples. Of the 230, 228 had Omicron BA2 variant, one had Kapa, and one was detected with XE," Additional BMC Commissioner Suresh Kakani told NDTV.
The new mutant may be more transmissible than any strain of COVID, World Health Organisation had said last week. The Mumbai patient is a 50-year-old costume designer who returned from South Africa in February. She tested positive for Covid on March 2, the BMC said in its release.
XE is a "recombinant" which is a mutation of BA.1 and BA.2 Omicron strains. Recombinant mutations emerge when a patient is infected by multiple variants of Covid.
The variants mix up their genetic material during replication and form a new mutation, UK experts said in a paper published in British Medical Journal.
The WHO had said that the new mutation XE appears to be 10 per cent more transmissible than the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron.
A version of this article appears in the print on April 7, 2022, of The Himalayan Times.