Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], April 7 (ANI): Amid mounting concerns over the new 'XE' variant of COVID and a day after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation reported its first case in Mumbai, Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday said that state health department has not received any confirmation about the variant and thus cannot confirm it.
"As per information, XE variant is only 10 per cent more infectious than the Omicron variant. We will talk more about it in detail after getting a report. Since we have not received a confirmatory report from the Centre or NIB, Maharashtra health department does not confirm it," Tope told ANI.
The Union Health Ministry had yesterday said that the present evidence does not suggest the presence of XE variant of COVID denying media reports that claimed that a case of the new mutant was reported in Mumbai.
Speaking to the reporters here, Tope said, "We have the experience of Omicron now which is like flu. There is no need to panic about that. We will talk about it in detail once the report comes in. No confirmed reports have come neither from the Centre nor from the National Institute of Biologicals. So the Health Department of Maharashtra does not confirm it."
The Health Ministry said FastQ files in respect of the sample was being 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 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. (ANI)