WHO issues warning over escalating rate of coronavirus
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India, home to 1.4 billion people, has seen an astonishing spike in cases starting around mid-March. This comes after the country was praised for their handling of the virus when it first hit. What are the symptoms to spot of the Indian variant?
The Indian Council of Medical Research chief Dr Balram Bhargava said that the only difference with the Indian Covid variant is shortness of breath.
He stated the variant is higher among patients this time as a higher requirement of oxygen was found in this wave.
Unlike the classic symptoms of Covid, current research which has emerged from hospitals across India, shows nausea, abdominal pain, hearing impairment, vomiting, diarrhoea and coughs along with predominant oral and skin manifestations are being seen much more common with the current variant.
The Indian Covid variant is believed to have two mutations.
Experts concerned about the strain believe it carries two mutations in the spike protein which could mean the variant is more able to deftly evade the body’s immune response.
This could mean vaccines are less effective in the face of this new variant, however, investigations into this are still underway.
The spike protein is the part of the virus which it uses to invade human cells.
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Recent research around the globe suggests the new Indian Covid variant is more easily transmitted to children and young people.
Some experts believe the faster-spreading Covid variants are sending children and young adults to hospital with serious symptoms.
Fatalities remain low, but doctors say the virus is now making the young sicker, some gravely.
PHE declared it a “variant under investigation” and scientists are now trying to discover if it is more dangerous than others in circulation.
However, some scientists are not worried yet, saying the strain’s features look no more dangerous than those seen in variants that emerged from South Africa, Brazil and Kent.
Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London, said he was concerned about the Indian variant.
Speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, he said: “At the moment, we are still vulnerable, and some people in our population are still vulnerable.
“What I mean by that is the Indian variant, for example, certainly has a mutation like the ones that evade the best neutralising antibodies.
“If you have a population where at least half of us have had zero or one dose of vaccine, some won’t have made a very good response to the vaccine, because perhaps they are very old or obese or unwell, we still have a very large vulnerable population who can still be caught out by variants like this.”
How to respond to COVID-19 symptoms
If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus, get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible.
You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.
Anyone in your support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.
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