XE variant threat: Mandaviya directs officials to boost surveillance

  • In a meeting with key healthcare experts and senior government officials, Mandaviya emphasized the need to carry out the ongoing vaccination drive at full pace.

Priyanka Sharma
First Published12 Apr 2022
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the XE variant is a recombinant of BA.1 and BA.2 sub-lineages.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the XE variant is a recombinant of BA.1 and BA.2 sub-lineages.(HT_PRINT)

Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Monday directed officials to review the availability of essential drugs and medicines required for covid treatment amid the threat of the new XE variant. In a meeting with key healthcare experts and senior government officials, the minister discussed ways to enhance the ongoing monitoring and surveillance of new variants and emphasized the need to carry out the vaccination drive at a full pace.

The meeting was attended by member (health) NITI Aayog V.K. Paul, health secretary Rajesh Bhushan, AIIMS director Randeep Guleria, and ICMR DG Balrama Bhargava, among others.

According to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, a 50-year-old patient who returned from South Africa in February had tested positive with the XE variant of covid-19. Meanwhile, local authorities in Gujarat are claiming to have detected a case of XE variant in the state.

The Omicron variant which is spreading across the world has many sub-lineages. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the XE variant is a recombinant of BA.1 and BA.2 sub-lineages. WHO scientists have classified ‘XE’ variant while performing molecular epidemiology to track the changes in the circulating variants. It was first reported in the UK, with more than 600 verified samples worldwide.

At present, the central government is awaiting reports from the National Institute of Virology (NIV) where scientists are conducting a genome sequencing of a newly detected mutant.

Last week, the central government had directed five states -- Kerala, Haryana, Maharashtra, Delhi and Mizoram-- to continue monitoring the spread of infection and undertake required steps for prompt and effective management of covid-19, as these states are reporting a slight increase in covid-19 cases.

The health ministry has also directed all these states to continue monitoring clusters of new Covid-19 cases, areas reporting high case positivity, perform adequate testing, and monitor influenza-like illness and SARI cases in all health facilities on a regular basis for detecting early warning signals of the spread of infection.

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