Bollywood costumes designer first to test positive for Covid XE

A woman costumes designer working with the Bollywood has become the country’s first patient to test positive for the Covid XE variant, a BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) official said on Wednesday.

First found in the UK, the XE variant is a mutation of strains of the Omicron variant, and early indications suggest it could be around 10 per cent more transmissible than other Omicron mutations.

The 50-year-old costumes designer, whose identity has not been disclosed, was part of a film shooting crew which arrived here from South Africa on February 10.

She had no previous travel history and as per the protocols, she underwent the regular tests and was found Covid-19 negative.

Later, during a routine testing by Suburban Diagnostics, the woman who has been vaccinated with both doses of Comirnaty vaccine, tested positive on March 2.

She was immediately quarantined at Hotel Taj Land’s End in Bandra, but another test conducted on her after 24 hours by Spice Health returned negative.

Subsequently, an analysis of her reports revealed that she was infected with the Covid XE variant, and her condition was described as asymptomatic without comorbidities.

This was among the 230 samples tested by the health authorities as part of its sero survey in which the XE variant was revealed, while another patient was found infected with the Kappa variant.

As per the World Health Organization, the new XE variant is a mutant hybrid of two other Omicron versions, BA.1 And BA.2, and accounts for a miniscule fraction of cases globally.

The WHO has said that the new mutant is around 10 per cent more transmissible than the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron.

The latest development has caused concerns in the health circles as Maharashtra is on the path of recovery and in the final stages of the ongoing third wave which started in December 2021.

Till date, the state has notched 78,74,582 Covid-19 cases in over two years, along with 147,793 deaths, both highest in the country.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: q.najmi@ians.in)

20220406-184005

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