Gujarat reports 1st case of COVID-19 XE Variant

Contact Counsellor

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

Recombinant Variant

  • 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

Exam Track

Prelims Takeway

  • DBT
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • XA, XB, XC, XD and XE
  • Recombination