A person in Gujarat has been infected with the highly transmissible XE variant of coronavirus, official sources told NDTV today. One case of XM variant has also been detected in the state, they said, without giving more details on the health condition of the two patients.
Earlier this week, a patient with foreign travel history was reported to have contracted the XE variant but the Health Ministry had denied the report, saying that the "present evidence does not suggest the presence of the new variant".
"Hours after report of detection of XE variant of Coronavirus in Mumbai, @MoHFW_INDIA has said present evidence does not suggest the presence of the new variant," PIB Maharashtra said in a tweet on Thursday.
The Health Ministry said 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".
The new mutant - first detected in the UK - may be more transmissible than any strain of COVID-19, World Health Organisation had said last week.
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.
Although sub-lineages of Omicron are being detected in various parts of the country, there has been no increase in transmission as yet, officials said.
"Genomic experts are looking at the sub lineages from genomic angle and public health experts at National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) are analysing the new variants. Experts need to study the findings before they have a final conclusion with regard to public health impact of various variants," officials added.
XE is recombinant of Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 sublineages of COVID-19.
The WHO said in its latest update that the XE recombinant (BA.1-BA.2) was first detected in the UK on January 19 and more than 600 sequences have been reported and confirmed since then.
Early-day estimates indicate a community growth rate advantage of 10 per cent as compared to BA.2. However, this finding requires further confirmation, it said.
With additional inputs from PTI