It has been more than a year since the deadly Covid-19 wreaked havoc in India and even after several efforts to contain its spread, the second wave of the virus is currently spreading like wildfire in the nation. Like all other pandemics in the past, a second wave with the Covid-19 was an expected occurrence. But the first wave did give us very important lessons of preventing a second one. Since we did not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.
During the second Covid wave, the most common symptoms remain dry cough, fever, loss of taste, and smell, however, there has been evidence of the mutated forms of the virus-producing different symptoms and reportedly being more transmissible.
We at Ziqitza have observed in the previous wave, children almost escaped unscathed. Increasing numbers of symptomatic infections in children is another concern in the current wave. This change in the age group of symptomatic infection is also evident because a higher number of younger people are getting infected this time around. This may be attributed to the fact that this is the age group that steps out to work and socialize but at the same time show very poor compliance to Covid-appropriate behavior.
Runny nose, vomiting, loose motions, and coughs that begin early but continue for over 2 weeks are being seen much more commonly with the current variant. In some individuals, there is no fever at all and in others fever sometimes begins only a day or two after the other symptoms. Since patients do not attribute their colds and abdominal discomfort to Covid, they continue interacting with people until the fever strikes. By then, they have transmitted the virus to a few households.
Ziqitza Rajasthan, therefore, urges citizens that they should isolate themselves at the very onset of anything uncomfortable they experience, be it even a headache or even a slight sore throat.
Why are New Mutations a big concern?
Researchers have discovered a new variant with two new mutations which may be better at evading the immune system. In 15-20 percent of samples from the Indian state of Maharashtra (the state accounting for 62 percent of cases in the country), a new, double mutation in key areas of the virus has been detected. These are now known as the E484Q and L452R mutations.
What makes the variant different is that both of these mutations are concerning because they are located in a key portion of the virus the spike protein that it uses to penetrate human cells. Spike proteins attach via a “receptor binding domain”, meaning the virus can attach to receptors in our cells.
These new mutations include changes to the spike protein that make it a “better fit” for human cells. This means the virus can gain entry more easily and multiply faster.
Given what we have seen with other similar mutations, it might also make it harder for our immune system to recognize the virus due to its slightly different shape. This means our immune system may not be able to recognize the virus as something it has to produce antibodies against.
With new variants on the rise, what India needs the most right now is an effective strain surveillance system and data analysis. Currently, we have only limited information on the number of variant infections, reinfections, or infections post-vaccination. This data is absolutely essential to strengthen our Covid combat strategy. To really understand how the virus is evolving and to what extent the new variants have spread, we need to sequence more samples says Dr. Datar, Ziqitza Limited
What must we as individuals do?
A combination of new strains, vaccine hesitancy, and Covid-denial among people at large has led to a potent second surge of cases in India. Seeing the situation ZHL Rajasthan advises people as an individual the best we can do to fight off the pandemic is not to panic but to act. By getting vaccinations at the appropriate intervals, strictly following COVID norms, and strengthening one’s immunity to fight diseases. Adequate immune response takes 2-3 weeks after completion of the entire vaccination schedule. That why it’s important not to miss the second dose.
Dr Santosh Datar, Ziqitza Healthcare Ltd says it’s very common to get post-vaccination symptoms of mild body ace and fever don’t panic ensure you take 2nd dose within the set interval. Remember vaccination is just to develop antibodies that will help you react less to the virus. It’s still important to follow covid norms and try and mitigate the spread of the virus in every way that you can.
The new strain is different, the symptoms are different, so it is important that you learn how to identify the new symptoms, and get tested if you suspect that you may have COVID 19. Isolate yourself immediately to curb the spread of the virus. Don’t Panic Dial toll-free number, 104 Health helpline operated by Ziqitza Healthcare in association with State Government and National Health Mission which has trained doctors on call who would help you with next steps. If you have any doubts concerning the new Covid symptoms, vaccination process, post-vaccination symptoms clear them all by calling Dial 104 Health Helpline.