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Amid mounting concerns over the new Covid variant 'XE' and a day after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation reported its first case in Mumbai, Gujarat has detected a case of XE Covid variant, which is said to be highly transmissible, sources have said. The central government and Maharashtra's health department, however, had not confirmed the case in India's financial capital.

Livemint talked to Dr. Bharesh Dedhia, Consultant, Critical Care at P.D. Hinduja Hospital & Medical Research Centre, Khar about the hybrid strain that was first detected in the UK in January.

How is the new variant different from Omicron?

The new sub-variant XE is just a subtype of Omicron. Omicron's common variants were BA1, BA2, and both mutated into the new variant. This variant is essentially Omicron only, but it is a recombinant mutant of Omicron.

Symptoms different from Omicron

Clinically, one can never distinguish between any of the variants. The new sub-variant XE appears to share all of Omicron's symptoms. It is generally milder and not very severe. We must keep in mind that the XE variant has been present for about three months and has not spread all over the world as Omicron did. So it is not a distinct form; rather, it is similar to Omicron.

What are the precautions?

Precautions are essentially the same. Everyone has been aware of these precautionary measures for the past two years. Even though the local state government has lifted the mask criteria, I believe we should continue to wear masks, avoid crowded locations, and just maintain our health. We should also ensure that we are completely vaccinated, and if one is eligible for a booster dose, he or she should receive it.

New Covid variant XE

The new Covid variant XE is recombinant of Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 sublineages of COVID-19.

WHO on new Covid variant XE

The hybrid strain was first detected in the UK in January. According to the WHO, it could be the most transmissible variant yet and is estimated to spread 10 per cent more easily than BA.2, which itself was more transmissible than the original Omicron.

India Covid-19 tally

India recorded 796 new coronavirus infections taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 4,30,36,928, while the active cases dipped to 10,889, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Tuesday. The death toll climbed to 5,21,710 with 19 fresh fatalities, the data updated at 8 am stated.

 

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