Gujarat reports 1st case of COVID-19 XE Variant
- Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre detected the XE variant in a patient 12 days ago.
- The sample was sent for confirmation as per INSACOG guidelines, to a Kolkata laboratory (DBT- National Institute of Biomedical Genomics (NIBMG), Kalyani).
- The confirmation report of the XE variant was received recently
- Virus increases its genetic diversity by recombination.
- Recombination occurs when, in extremely rare situations, two different lineages of the virus co-infect the same cell in the host and exchange fragments of their individual genomes
- It generates a descendent variant having mutations that occurred in both the original lineages of the virus.
- Recombination of lineages happens in a variety of other viruses, including those that cause influenza, as well as other coronaviruses.
- Such recombination events occur typically in situations where two or more lineages of SARS-CoV-2 may be co-circulating in a certain region during the same time period.
- This co-circulation of lineages provides an opportunity for recombination to occur between these two lineages of SARS-CoV-2.
Recombinant viruses detected till now
- While recombination events are not frequently observed for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, multiple recombinant lineages have been designated during the pandemic.
- The recombinant lineages are annotated by PANGO with an ‘X’ followed by an alphabet which indicates the order of discovery.
- Some previously detected and designated lineages:
- XA: recombinant of B.1.1.7 (Alpha) and B.1.177 detected in the U.K
- XB: detected in the U.S.
- XC: detected in Japan, which is a recombinant of B.1.1.7 (Alpha) and AY.29 sublineage of Delta
- Three new recombinant lineages of SARS-CoV-2 have been recently designated by the PANGO network and are being monitored — XD, XE, and XF.
- It stands for Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium
- It is a joint initiative of the Health Ministry, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)
- It is a national multi-agency consortium of Regional Genome Sequencing Laboratories (RGSLs)
- It was set up by the Indian Government in December 2020 to monitor the genomic variations in the covid-19 causing SARS-CoV-2 virus
- RGSLs are responsible for genome sequencing and identification of variants of concern/variants of interest, potential variants of interest, and other mutations. Read more on coronavirus variants in the link.
- The idea behind the establishment of the INSACOG is to expand the whole genome sequencing of the coronavirus to understand how it spreads and evolves.
- It is not designated as a variant of concern till now and scientists are of view that it is not likely to cause any more severity than other sub-variants of Omicron (BA.1 and BA.2) did
- XA, XB, XC, XD and XE