New Delhi: The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) revealed that it has discovered a new N440K variant of COVID-19 in Visakhapatnam and other parts of the state. The CCMB experts believe that this new variant can be the reason behind the havoc in the state.
The experts also added that it is too early to detect the origin of this new N440K variant of COVID-19, adding that this may or may not be the one commonly called as AP strain now-a-days, which is noted to be behind the unprecedented surge in some states in India.
The AP strain, which was first found in Andhra Pradesh’s Kurnool, is being considered 15 times more virulent than the other variants of COVID-19.
“We are still to ascertain, which strain is in circulation right now, as samples have been sent to CCMB for analysis. But one thing is certain that the variant at present which is in circulation in Visakhapatnam is quite different from what we have seen during the first wave last year,” District Collector V Vinay Chand, who is updated about the developments by senior doctors in the health department told one of the leading media company.
The district COVID Special Officer PV Sudhakar also added that the local authorities have observed that this new variant has a shorter incubation period, whereas the progress of the infection is much faster than the other strains.
In other words, the authorities explained, earlier a patient suffering from COVID-19 infection will take upto 7 days to develop hypoxia or dyspnea stage, but it has been observed that patients with this new strain are getting serious within 3-4 days of contracting the infection. This situation has made the already stressed healthcare system more pressured as the requirement of hospital beds with oxygen and ICU has increased manifolds.
The second wave of COVID-19 has been more deadly because, unlike the first wave, exposure for a shorter period of time is also enough to contract the coronavirus, the experts revealed, adding that this variant is highly unpredictable.
“Most essentially, none is spared, as we have observed that it is affecting the younger population in a big way, including those who are fitness freaks and have high immunity levels. It is also observed that cytokine storms are occurring faster, and some are responding to treatment and some are not,” Dr Sudhakar told the media.