India's first case of the XE variant of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) was reported from Mumbai on Wednesday. The hybrid of two omicron strains BA.1 and BA.2 was detected in a 50-year-old woman who had travelled to the city from South Africa in February, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said in a statement. The asymptomatic patient had no comorbidities and had been quarantined after being diagnosed almost a month later in March, the BMC said.
XE is a mutation of strains of the Omicron variant, and early indications suggest it could be around 10 per cent more transmissible than other Omicron mutations. The World Health Organization (WHO) said 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.
Officials sources, however, told news agency ANI that the present evidence does not suggest that it is 'XE' variant of Covid-19. "FastQ files in respect of the sample, which is being said to be 'XE' variant were analysed in detail by genomic experts of the INSACOG who have inferred that the genomic constitution of this variant does not correlate with the genomic picture of 'XE' variant," a source said.
The XE variant has also been detected in Thailand and New Zealand. The WHO has said further data is required before more can be said about the mutation.
It said: "Early-day estimates indicate a community growth rate advantage of 10 per cent as compared to BA.2.
There is no evidence XE is any more serious in disease severity, with all Omicron variants so far shown to be less severe.
What are the symptoms of Omicron XE?
The symptoms can be mild for some and they can be severe for others. The newest variant spreads rapidly.
Depending on one's vaccination status and immunity acquired from earlier infections, symptoms and severity of the Covid-19 virus depend from person to person.
Some of the symptoms to watch out for include fever, sore throat, scratchy throat, cough and cold, skin irritation and discolouration, gastrointestinal distress, etc.
Some of the symptoms of severe diseases are heart ailment, palpitation, and sometimes the virus can also cause severe nerve diseases.
Fatigue and dizziness are some of the initial symptoms, followed by headaches, sore throat, muscle soreness and fever.
But the most common symptoms of coronavirus such as the loss of smell and taste are rarely reported in people affected with the new Omicron variant.