INSACOG, the consortium of laboratories set up for genome sequencing by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that the genomic sequencing of the XE case reported in Mumbai does not match with the actual genomic picture of the XE sub-type of Omicron.
"FastQ files in respect of the sample, which is being said to be 'XE' were analysed in detail by genomic experts of INSACOG who have inferred that the genomic constitution of this variant does not correlate with the genomic picture of XE variant, " the Health Ministry said.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation reported that a fifty-year-old costume designer in Mumbai was found to be infected with the relatively new XE sub-type making her the first reported case of the COVID-19 Omicron sub-type in India. Although she tested positive on March 2, it was only discovered that she was infected by the XE variant after the BMC shared its data on COVID-19 genome sequencing.
The BMC and the Maharashtra state government stated that they have been asked to send the sample to the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics for further confirmation of the XE sub-type. However, the state press release also shared that GISAID has confirmed the sequencing.
The woman who has received two doses of the Pfizer- Comirnaty mRNA vaccine returned to India from South Africa on February 10, 2022. She has no other travel history., the BMC said.
In a routine test conducted by Suburban Diagnostics, the BMC said the woman tested positive for the virus and her sample was further sent to be sequenced. She chose to isolate at Mumbai's Taj Lands End Hospital. However, a repeat test by another diagnostic chain turned out to be negative so she stopped isolating.
The sample tested by Suburban Diagnostics was sent for sequencing and showed that she was infected by the XE variant. But, the woman was asymptomatic and did not show any characteristics representative of Omicron or XE.
The woman's sample was a part of 230 samples that the BMC sent for sequencing to the Next Generation Genome sequencing center based out of Kasturba Hospital in Mumbai. The results showed that out of the 230 samples, 228 people were infected by Omicron, one by Kappa, and this woman by XE.
XE was first reported in the UK. This recombinant sub-type of the two existing and sequenced sub-types of Omicron could be more transmissible, according to the World Health Organisation. The health body has asked countries to not lower their guards and continue being vigilant about SARS-CoV-2 as cases across the world continue to increase.
After two days of reporting less than 1,000 new cases, India witnessed a rise as the country reported 1,086 new cases today.
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