India Detects First Case of New Coronavirus Variant XE in Mumbai

© REUTERS / FRANCIS MASCARENHASA woman walks past a graffiti on a street, amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Mumbai, India, May 10, 2021
A woman walks past a graffiti on a street, amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Mumbai, India, May 10, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.04.2022
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NEW DELHI (Sputnik) - The first case of the XE variant of COVID-19 has been detected in Mumbai, India's largest city, the local governing civic body, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), said on Wednesday.
The new XE variant was first detected in the United Kingdom in March, according to reports.
In India, it was found in a 50-year-old fully vaccinated woman, who came to the country from South Africa on 10 February. Upon arrival in Mumbai, the woman had no symptoms and tested negative for COVID-19.
"But on March 2, a routine test conducted by Suburban Diagnostics showed a positive result, and she was placed under quarantine in a hotel room," the BMC said in a statement.
The results of the test taken next day were negative, after which the samples were sent for genome sequencing, and it was identified that the woman was infected with the XE variant. The patient's condition is reported as fine.
India has the second-highest COVID-19 toll after the United States, with over 43 million cases and 521,000 deaths.
Mutations of different SARS-CoV-2 strains have resulted in three distinct lineages - XD, XE, XF. The XD and XF lineages are combinations of the Delta variant and the Omicron BA.1. sublineage, while lineage XE is a hybrid of the Omicron variants BA.1 and BA.2, in which most of the genome belongs to Omicron BA.2, also known as "stealth omicron."
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