New Delhi: India’s first case of the new COVID variant XE was reported on Wednesday (April 6). The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) announced that a 50-year-old woman with a travel history to South Africa may have been infected with the newly-discovered coronavirus variant XE. However, the Union Health Ministry said that the present evidence does not suggest the presence of XE variant of COVID in India, denying media reports that claimed that a case of the new mutant was reported in Mumbai.
As we wait for more details on XE variant of coronavirus, here’s a quick lowdown on symptoms and signs that one should look out for:
– World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Technical Lead Dr Maria Van Kerkhove says that the XE variant is what is called a ‘recombinant’, which means it contains the mutations found in BA.1 as well as BA.2 varieties of Omicron. Recombinant mutations emerge when a patient is infected by multiple variants of Covid.
– WHO has said that this variant of coronavirus could be the most contagious Covid variant yet.
– It adds that the XE mutation appears to be 10 per cent more contagious than the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron.
– WHO says that the XE mutation is currently being tracked as part of the Omicron variant and the symptoms can be like of Omicron, which include fever, sore throat, scratchy throat, cough and cold, skin irritation and discoloration and gastrointestinal distress.
– Currently, there is no evidence of XE causing more severe disease.
– Reports quote the Chief Medical Officer of UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), Susan Hopkins saying that such variants usually die off “relatively quickly”.
– According to WHO, this recombinant was first detected in the United Kingdom on January 19 and approximately 637 cases have been reported since it was first detected.
– The XE variant has also been detected in Thailand and New Zealand and WHO has said further data is required before more can be said about the mutation.
– Dr Maria Van Kerkhove says that the virus is still very much with us and is circulating at a really intense level.
– She further adds that everyone needs to use all of the tools that we have at our disposal to break the chain of the infection and thereby reducing the spread of the disease and death. She said that these tools include vaccines, ensuring we get the full course of the doses available to us and along with this follow other measures like masking and maintaining appropriate social distance.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.