New Delhi: Amid the recent upsurge in the number of Covid cases, medical experts have warned that the new XBB1.16 variant is able to evade the immune system of the people and the upcoming four weeks are very crucial. Senior Pediatrician at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Dr Dhiren Gupta, said,
The XBB 1.16 variant is the primary cause of the rise in cases among children and adults. This variant is showing immune escape and is able to evade the immune system. It is infecting those who had the Covid infection during the previous waves and also teenagers and adults who have been vaccinated. It is likely to spread. Infections like adenovirus and influenza seem to be more bothersome than covid. The next four weeks are going to be important.
Dr Dhiren also said that XBB 1.16 variant is believed to be highly contagious and more virulent than the previous strains of the virus. He said,
There has been a significant rise in the number of Covid cases in India during the past few weeks, this has been attributed to a new variant known as XBB 1.16. The number of cases in children under 12 has also been increasing.
The Consultant General Paediatrician at Madhukar Rainbow Children’s Hospital, Dr S K Nakra said that among the Covid positive cases, conjunctivitis has also been reported in some cases. Speaking to news agency ANI, he said,
The symptoms of Covid 19 are high fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache, body aches and gastrointestinal symptoms. Red sticky eyes (conjunctivitis) has been also been reported by some physicians. However, this was seen in the earlier strains also in about 1-3 per cent of Covid patients. It is too early to say that this red eye is more common with XBB 1.16 variant.
He said that most of the paediatric patients have mild symptoms and are similar to other viral infections (adenovirus) circulating at this time. Dr. Nakra said,
RT PCR testing is required to confirm Covid 19. Infants, obese children and children with co-morbidities like asthma, juvenile diabetes and those on immuno suppression may get a severe form of Covid and need to be more careful.
He further warned those children who come under comorbidities.
Prevention can only happen through Covid appropriate behaviour- masking in public places, frequent handwashing and avoiding indoor crowded places.
Notably, there has been noticed a spike in the number of Covid-19 cases across the country. India reported a total of 5675 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours. Considering the prevailing situation, the Union Ministry held a two-day nationwide mock drill to evaluate preparedness against the virus.
XBB1.16.1 Omicron Variant
In a new development, the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) data has found a mutation of Omicron in several states of India – XBB1.16.1. It is a mutation of Omicron’s infectious XBB1.16 variant. INSACOG stated that around 234 cases of XBB1.16.1 mutated sub-variant have been across 13 states and Union Territories, including Delhi, Gujarat and Haryana.
According to the data, 1,774 cases of the XBB1.16 variant have been found across 22 states and Union Territories, the data showed.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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