Home / News / India /  XE, Deltacron under close scrutiny: Maharashtra Covid-task force expert on Mumbai's recombinant case

With Mumbai reporting the first case of XE, a more transmissible COVID-19 variant, earlier this week, a Maharashtra government’s Covid-19 task force member said coronavirus recombinants need to be closely watched but without panicking. The expert further advised that “COVID-appropriate behaviour is still the key."

In its bulletin, the Maharashtra health department said the new variant detected in a vaccinated 50-year-old woman, South African citizen, with no comorbidity and asymptomatic. She had come from South Africa on February 10 and had no prior travel history. On arrival, she had tested negative for the virus, but was found infected when tested days later. However, the genome sequencing data of the city civic body was revealed on Wednesday.

Noting that the recombinants need to be watched closely, Shashank Joshi, Maharashtra government’s Covid-19 task member, explained that Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 recombinants - namely XE XL XH XJ (based on geography) - behave more like BA.2 - more transmissible but virulence is still unknown.

Again for XD - Delta, Omicron recombinant (known as Deltacron), he said that it is also “more transmissible but virulence unknown." Both the variants need to be closely watched but without panic.

Earlier this morning, Gujarat Health Ministry confirmed that a case of XE variant was detected in the state. Manoj Agarwal, IAS, Additional chief secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Government of Gujarat, said, “We are in touch with the Governments of Maharashtra and Gujarat. Biotechnology research centre found the mutation in the sample that's why genome sequencing is required after which the sample was sent to Kolkata where they have confirmed the sample as an 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.

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