With several reports citing the emergence of a new mutant of the novel Coronavirus known as XE which is more transmissible than the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron, the Tata Institute for Genetics and Society has urged citizens of the country not to panic and closely monitor the development of the variant.
Speaking exclusively to ANI today, Tata Institute for Genetics and Society (TIGS) Director Rakesh Mishra said, "The new mutant XE emerged for the first time in mid-January, but I believe that there is no need to push a 'panic button'. So far, only 600 cases have been reported across the world. But we need to keep a close watch on it." According to the World Health Organization (WHO)'s latest report, the new mutant called XE may be more transmissible than any strain of COVID-19 reported so far.
He further said that there is no indication that it can cause a wave of COVID-19. "No indication is present at the moment highlighting that this new variant is so strong that it can cause a wave. We need to wait for some more time to make comments on how transmissible it can be," he said.
Dr Mishra also stressed that it is important to take all safety measures to curb the spread of the virus.
"It is unfortunate that a certain section of the society seems to be eager to declare that the pandemic is over. People should take care by using masks, administering vaccines as per rules and boosters wherever allowed and avoiding unnecessary clustering in crowded spaces, especially in close spaces. Act civil by wearing masks." Meanwhile, India today reported 1,260 fresh COVID-19 cases, taking the total number of Coronavirus infections to 4,30,27,035. India also recorded 83 COVID-related deaths in the last 24 hours, according to the Health Ministry.
Today morning, India's COVID-19 vaccination coverage exceeded 184.52 crore (1,84,52,44,856) as per provisional reports till 7 am today. COVID-19 vaccination for the age group 12-14 years was started on March 16, 2022. So far, more than 1.81 crore (1,81,21,823) adolescents have been administered with the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.