Conjunctivitis a Symptom of COVID Variant Arcturus in India: What We Know

Doctors in India are reportedly now seeing symptoms previously not associated with other COVID variants.

2 min read

India recorded 10,542 new COVID-19 cases on 19 April, according to data collected by the Ministry of Health and family Welfare. Active cases in the country have surged up to 62, 562.

New developments:

  • XBB1.1.6 Omicron sub-variant, thought to be behind the current wave in India, has been dubbed, Arcturus.

  • Doctors have also reported patients coming in with symptoms previously not associated with COVID. Notably, conjunctivitis, and itchy eyes.

It must be noted, however, that there isn't any evidence of the Arcturus being more virulent or causing more severe illness than other Omicron strains.

Why does it matter: As the current wave of COVID in the country surges on, hospitals in major cities, including Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore are reporting a spike in patient visitation.

This surge in COVID cases comes after months of a lull. In fact, US president, Joe Biden, less than a fortnight ago, on 10 April, signed a bill officially declaring the end of the COVID national emergency.

Is it a cause for concern? Speaking to FIT last week, Public Health Expert, Dr Srinath Reddy clarified, "for a variety of reasons, I think we will get periodic spikes. This is going to be an ongoing phenomenon that we will continue to see from time to time."

He also underscored that as long as no further variant emerges with a higher level of virulence, and we do not see a surge in the number of cases requiring hospitalisation for serious illness, there is not much reason to worry.

The variant continues to be watched by scientists in the country

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