HomeCovid UpdatesCOVID XE variant in India: How dangerous is it?

COVID XE variant in India: How dangerous is it?

It has been more than two years since coronavirus has hounded the entire world. If that wasn’t enough, some of the deadlier variants of COVID-19 have emerged in the past months. It has instilled fear among people around the world for obvious reasons. Despite large-scale vaccinations, COVID-19 still hovers over the world as experts strive to get rid of it. Now, after the delta and omicron variants, another variant of COVID-19 has come into being. Yes, we are talking about COVID XE. Let us dig a bit further into the details of this variant.

What is COVID XE?

As per a report published on Money Control, COVID XE has caused the third wave of infection in the country. So, the omicron variant of COVID-19 has two subvariants – BA.1 and BA.2. The former is the original strain, and the latter is more widespread and infectious.

Now, the XE variant is termed recombinant. In short, it involves all the mutations found in BA.1 and BA.2. According to WHO, ‘recombination is common among coronaviruses and is regarded as an expected mutational event.’

More about COVID XE

A recombinant variant emerges when an individual is infected with two or more variants at one and the same time. It results in a mixture of the genetic material of these variants within the person’s body. This is as per a report published by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). The same analysis suggests that the COVID XE recombinant is not much dangerous and has no significant advantages as compared to the other variants.

The first detection of COVID XE

The XE variant was first detected in the UK on January 19, 2022, as per WHO reports. Till now, more than 600 samples of XE have been found in multiple countries.

Is it transmissible?

According to WHO, the COVID XE variant can be 10 percent more transmissible than BA.2. However, further confirmation is required on the same. It is because currently there is a lack of evidence to draw conclusions about the properties or growth advantage of this variant.

As published in Money Control, Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Advisor, UKHSA, said, “This particular recombinant, XE, has shown a variable growth rate and we cannot yet confirm whether it has a true growth advantage. So far there is not enough evidence to draw conclusions about transmissibility, severity, or vaccine effectiveness.”

Hopkins further said, “Recombinant variants are not an unusual occurrence, particularly when there are several variants in circulation, and several have been identified over the course of the pandemic to date. As with other kinds of variants, most will die off relatively quickly.”

The same report quotes WHO’s statement which is as follows, “XE belongs to the Omicron variant until significant differences in transmission and disease characteristics, including severity, may be reported.”

India’s case

Unfortunately, the first-ever case of COVID XE has been already detected in Mumbai, India. If that wasn’t enough, another case was detected in Gujarat same after the first case.

As published in Hindustan Times, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said, “As per information, XE variant is 10 percent 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.”

In the same HT report, Dr. Gagandeep Kang, professor, and microbiologist of Christian Medical College said, “Variants will come because people are travelling. Of what we know of the variant (XE) is that it is not a point of concern.”

COVID 4th wave in India

Despite the COVID cases drastically declining across the world, WHO has recently stated that it remains a major public danger. Meanwhile, there has been a fear among the Indian masses regarding the recently discovered COVID XE variant. As reported in multiple portals, Indian states like Delhi-NCR and Gujarat have witnessed a spike in the cases. Though experts have opined that there is nothing to panic in this situation, it is still not time to do away with the precautions. Under such circumstances, individuals must ensure that they are aware of the symptoms associated with coronavirus.

Current COVID situation in India

India witnessed a massive COVID surge a few months ago prompted by the Omicron variant. However, the good news here is that cases are on the decline in the country and across the globe. But the experts have discovered several new variants that include BA.4 and BA.5. Apart from that, there has been a surge in infections caused by the recombinants like XD, XE, and XF. Despite significant drop in infections, a few states in India are still witnessing a spike in the cases.

As published in the Mint, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “This virus has over time become more transmissible and it remains deadly especially for the unprotected and unvaccinated that don’t have access to health care and antivirals.”

Common COVID symptoms to watch out for

You must watch out for some common coronavirus symptoms like sore throat, headache, runny nose, cough, loss of taste and smell. People have also started complaining about joint pain and gastrointestinal disorders after the emergence of the Omicron variants.

The newly identified variant – COVID XE

The experts have already notified whether or not COVID XE will bring a new wave. As published in the Mint, they said, “During the lifetime of this pandemic, multiple variants have been identified, most of which have died out quickly.”

The COVID XE variant has been circulating in the United Kingdom since 2022. However, fewer cases have been reported to date. It also means that the concern is less. Moreover, individuals infected with the previous Omicron variant have antibodies to resist severe cases of re-infection. So, the chances of witnessing yet another wave are low as of now.

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