COVID XE less severe than other Omicron subvariants: Dr Kang

COVID XE less severe than other Omicron subvariants: Dr Kang

Professor Dr. Gagandeep Kang of Christian Medical College, Vellore, said that the new COVID variant XE is “not a matter of concern”, as it is less severe than the other sub-variants of Omicron (BA.1 and BA.2).

“Variants will come because people are travelling. Of what we know of the variant (XE) is that it is not a point of concern,” Dr Kang said.

“We were worried about BA.2, but it did not cause more serious disease than BA.1. XE does not cause more serious disease than BA.1 or BA.2,” Dr. Kang said on the sidelines of a panel discussion organised by John Hopkins Gupta-Klinsky India Institute in New Delhi.

Dr. Kang added that in a vaccinated population, XE variant is not something to be bothered about.

The World Health Organisation has issued warning against XE, a new variant of Omicron first detected in the UK.

Also read: Study shows high possibility of blood clotting up to 6 months post COVID

It has been suggested that it could be more transmissible than any COVID strain so far.

XE is a combination of recombinant of both sub-variants (BA.1 and BA.2) of Omicron.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has said that it has detected the first case of XE infection in Mumbai.

However, the Union Health Ministry said that the sample, which is being said to be ‘XE’ variant, was analysed in detail by genome experts of the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium, who have inferred that the genomic constitution of this variant does not correlate with the genomic constitution of XE variant.

When asked about her views on administering booster dose to population below 60 years, Kang said that the country doesn’t have enough data to establish the effectiveness of booster doses among people younger than 60 years.

Director-General, Indian Council of Medical Research, Dr. Balram Bhargava echoed a similar view on booster dose and said that he agreed with Dr. Kang’s comments.

The panel discussion was held on the theme ‘Applying Lessons Learned from COVID for a Stronger Health System’.

Speaking during the panel discussion, Dr. Bhargava said that the greatest thing India learnt from COVID was that it became self-confident.

“We got self-confidence that our health care system can deliver,” Dr. Bhargava said.

Also read: Mumbai civic body, Centre differ on COVID XE case; patient recovers

Dr. Bhargava also acknowledged that there was a need to strengthen the primary healthcare system to tackle such situations in future.

“We need to invest more in primary health care system and impart good training which is much needed. We need good MBBS doctors with proper raining,” Bhargava said.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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