Saturday, Jul 02, 2022

Recombinant Coronavirus Variants In India Very Few, Don't Affect Severity: INSACOG

INSACOG is a consortium of 38 Indian labs to carry out genome sequencing and monitor genomic variations of coronavirus.

Representative image of a coronavirus PTI photo

There are very recombinant variants of coronavirus in India and none of those has shown an increase in transmission, disease severity, or hospitalisations, according to Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG).

A recombinant strain of coronavirus is a mixture of two strains and shows characteristics of both of the constituent strains. An example is the XE sub-variant of Omicron variant of coronavirus, which was first discovered in the United Kingdom in January 2022.

The INSACOG in its weekly bulletin released on Wednesday said, "Based on genome sequencing analysis, very few recombinant variants have been discovered in India. So far, none showed either increased transmission (locally or otherwise) or was associated with severe disease or hospitalisation."
It added that incidences of suspected recombinants and the possible public health relevance are being closely monitored. A total of 2,40,570 samples have been sequenced till now, as per the bulletin. 

On the global scenario, the INSACOG said two recombinant variants — XD and XE — are being closely monitored worldwide. XD, which has an Omicron S gene incorporated into a Delta genome, is found primarily in France. 

It said, "XE is a BA.1/BA.2 recombinant, with the majority of the genome including the S gene belonging to BA.2. XE shows slightly higher transmission rate. XE also shows a higher growth rate above that of BA.2; however, this finding requires further confirmation."

At Wednesday's meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with chief ministers, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said one case of XK/XM was found in Maharashtra, one case of XJ was detected in Rajasthan, and a case each of the XJ and XE recombinant versions of Omicron has been found in the country. 

(With PTI inputs)