A new variant is wreaking havoc in India currently. With a high transmissibility rate, and greater ability to evade vaccine-induced immune systems, this variant which is named Arcturus is the current rising threat in India. As per reports, the country has logged a total of over 7,ooo new cases of coronavirus infection in the last 24 hours, pushing the daily positivity rate to 8.40 per cent. And health experts have quoted that most of these positive cases in the country are being driven by the newly found Arcturus variant of XBB.1.16.
At a time, when speculation about a new wave of the virus is on the rise, understanding the symptoms and unusual characteristics of this new COVID-19 variant should be our utmost priority. Let us take you through the various ways in which the variant is different from the previous strains, and the new signs that a patient infected with this variant may experience.
What Is Arcturus Variant?
A highly mutated version of COVID-19 was detected in India in 2021. Named as the Omicron, this variant has over 42 mutations in its spike protein and high a ability to infect even fully vaccinated individuals. However, as experts have already stated the unique feature of the COVID virus is that it can mutate faster than one could ever think. In the year 20223, researchers detected a new subvariant of Omicron which has more potential to infect individuals — XBB.1.16.
Omicron subvariant, XBB.1.16 is driving the latest surge in cases in the country. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that they are closely monitoring this variant. According to reports, XBB.1.16 is currently present in 29 countries. It is also known as Arcturus. Here’s what we know about this variant.
Arcturus or XBB.1.16 variant: How Big Is The Threat?
XBB.1.16, also known as the Arcturus variant was first detected in January 2023. It is an Omicron sub-variant which carries the ability to spread faster than all the previous strains of the virus. The World Health Organization has stated that the XB.1.16 variant is similar to XBB.1.5 variant but has an additional mutation, which makes it more contagious in nature. However, the global health body has also confirmed that this new variant may not lead to anything severe like the Delta wave.
Talking about India, experts have said that the Arcturus variant is currently dominant in the country and has already replaced other variants. It is spreading quickly across the states but the rate of hospitalization is still low and most of the symptoms associated with this variant are manageable. The variant leads to mild symptoms which look mostly like the flu. Take a look at the signs of Arcturus virus below.
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What Are The Symptoms of Arcturus or XBB.1.16 Variant?
Although experts have stated that the new COVID-19 variant is not going to drive a new wave in the country, and patients will not experience life-threatening symptoms, there is still a need to understand the various signs associated with this new variant. Take a look at them below:
Fever accompanied by chills
Body pain or muscle cramps
Extreme tiredness or fatigue
Apart from these, experts have also cautioned about unusual symptoms of XBB.1.16 noted in the kids. The new symptoms of the variant in children include high fever, cough, and itchy conjunctivitis or pinkeye. These are new eye-related COVID symptoms that were not reported in any of the earlier waves of COVID-19.
Note: The above symptoms are reported on the basis of cases detected so far. However, it is still recommended to keep a tab on the previous symptoms of COVID-19, which include — loss of smell and taste, chest discomfort, high-grade fever, etc. And