Moving under the second wave of Covid-19, now comes the news of another mutant- the N440K. This new variant is said to be 10 times more infectious than the parent strain. The mutant, which is now in circulation in certain pockets of India, was first found in Kurnool and has now spread all over Andhra Pradesh. In Vizag, there are many patients whose condition is turning worse, possibly due to this mutant of the virus, in not more than 3-4 days after they got tested Covid-19 positive. In particular, youngsters are found to be more prone to the virus which is affecting the immune system.
Microbiologists, and doctors, predict that the new variant might be the reason for the severe condition observed in the patients. “Currently, we are not able to detect the virus but just tell whether it is positive or negative. That job is now taken up by the scientists from some of the centres such as the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), and the Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP) who will periodically study the variants. But witnessing the Covid-19 cases in Vizag these days, there might be a possibility of the new variant which multiplies faster. Thereby, turning the patient’s condition worse within days,” said Dr. P Appa Rao, Head of Microbiology, Andhra Medical College.
He also said that youngsters are especially now at risk from the Covid-19 second wave which is an immunity attack, affecting people with a good immune system. While the people affected with the Covid-19 virus in Vizag, earlier showed severe symptoms during the second week, the new mutant is learnt to make them worse within a few days of testing positive.
As per the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, and the Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR), Ghaziabad, the new variant produces 10 times higher infectious viral titres (viral load) than a prevalent A2a strain. Andhra Medical College Principal, and Special Officer for COVID-19 Vizag, Dr. P V Sudhakar, said “We are not sure whether the new variant is what is affecting the positive patients in Vizag. But, we observed that the spread of the virus now is fast, making patients critical within days. And the most affected now are youngsters.”
As per the data by the Government, Vizag has recorded 85,024 Covid-19 positive cases till May 3. The numbers are on a rise, people are advised not to step out of the houses unless there is an emergency.