India has been witnessing a surge in COVID-19 cases and the key factor causing the spike in cases is the emergence of a new Omicron variant called the XBB 1.16. The variant was first detected in Pune in February and was named XBB 1.16 on March 5. The XBB 1.16 variant is a recombinant lineage of COVID and a descendant of the XBB lineage.
The symptoms of the presence of XBB 1.16. Omicron variant in patients is similar to those of the Omicron variant such as –
• high-grade fever for over two days
• sore throat
• body pain
• severe headache
• abdominal discomfort.
There is no loss of smell or taste seen in the patients, so far. Most of them have mild to moderate disease and are being managed on home isolation.
The XBB.1.16 version does not appear to be seriously harming people right now. Upper respiratory symptoms like a blocked nose, headache, sore throat, fever, and myalgia, or muscular discomfort that lasts for three to four days, are typical, soo for now need not to worry but need to stay cautious.
Who are at MOST risk?
Experts believe that children, elderly population, and patients with co-morbidities such as cardiac conditions, previous pulmonary issues, and diabetes among other ailments are at most risk of the new variant.
How much transmissible it is?
The XBB 1.16 subvariant is a highly transmissible variant with high infectivity rate. The subvariant has mutations on the amino acids and nucleotide space that gives it the capacity to escape hybrid immunity achieved by vaccination and previous exposure to the virus
Protection for us –
All of us have had at least one or two clinical or sub-clinical Covid-19 infections – some of us more than two times – and this seems to be protecting most people against severe disease.
How can we protect ourselves against an infection?
• Those at high risk can avoid going to crowded, unventilated spaces unless necessary – for example, going to the movies isn’t necessary and those at high risk can avoid it when the infection is in circulation.
• They can mask up when they are in an airplane, crowded car or metro.
• Those who remain unvaccinated can get their shots. That is the only real strategy.
Do not self-medicate even if you have mild Covid
In terms of the latest treatment, mild Covid cases are to be managed at home and care is entirely symptomatic.
• The patients must self-isolate themselves
• Stay properly hydrated
• Take adequate rest
• Take paracetamol for fever and body aches.
There is no role for antibiotics or specific antivirals at this stage. Only people who are at high risk of developing complications or severe disease can be considered for antiviral medication.
Is COVID-19 also on its way to becoming a seasonal infection?
That seems to be the direction it is headed towards – it is likely to float around like other respiratory viruses and cause infections from time to time. It is certainly not going away any time soon.
Emerging variants are unlikely to cause waves like what we saw earlier in the pandemic because most of the population has some immunity to it by now. The only real danger is if it jumps to an animal, changes drastically, and then comes back and infects us again. That is the worst case scenario.
However, the government is already taking steps like one health surveillance where we keep an eye on such infections even among animals.
We have to continue being responsible
One has to be careful, precautions are very important and Covid-appropriate behaviour must be reinforced. Anybody who is symptomatic of disease with flu-like symptoms should isolate and wear a mask. The caregivers and other members who are exposed to this person should wear masks. People should avoid crowded places, wash their hands frequently, and follow cough and sneezing etiquette.
For more informative articles on Covid19 new variants and other health related issues, please visit our website www.santripty.com and also YouTube channel https://youtube.com/@santripty and feel free to consult with our experienced team of doctors, get benefits and stay healthy.