Arcturus has been detected in at least 29 countries so far, the WHO said in a weekly epidemiological update published April 13.
Arcturus, a new COVID-19 sub-variant, became an important matter of study for The World Health Organisation (WHO) these days. According to WHO, 29 countries have been exposed to the brand-new, extremely contagious COVID-19 strain.
The new omicron variation, XBB.1.16, has symptoms that are similar to those of earlier coronavirus variants. Conjunctivitis, though, is a new symptom. Arcturus was initially discovered by India.
Arcturus causes a rapid coronavirus cases in India
The variant is a topic of discussion but not a source of worry, according to experts. The novel variety was responsible for 7% of the COVID-19 cases that were officially reported, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the US.
Healthline claims that the profile of Arcturus is comparable to earlier omicron sub-variants. However, the spike protein’s extra mutation increases its contagiousness. It has been designated by the WHO as a “variant under monitoring.” The symptoms are the same with the new variety, but it is not extremely bad. But it differs from other omicron sub-variants in some clinical ways. A notable symptom of it, aside from fever, is its propensity to cause conjunctivitis (inflammation of the exterior of the eye).
WHERE HAS ARCTURUS BEEN DETECTED?
The COVID-19 subvariant Arcturus first appeared around the end of 2021 as a subvariant of the Omicron strain.
The WHO claims that VUMs exhibit “early signals of growth advantage relative to other circulating variants” despite the categorization being less dangerous than a variant of interest or a variant of concern, and that the data regarding the specific impact “remains unclear.”
WHERE HAS ARCTURUS BEEN DETECTED?
According to the WHO’s weekly epidemiological bulletin released on April 13, 2024, Arcturus has so far been identified in at least 29 different nations.
According to WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove, at a March 29, 2024 news briefing, India has seen an increase in cases recently, with XBB. 1.16 replacing the previous forms that are in circulation.
On Monday, the Indian Health Ministry reported more than 60,000 COVID cases, a considerable increase from the caseload of around 13,500 on March 30, 2024.
HOW CAN YOU DEFEND AGAINST ARCTURUS?
The latest COVID-19 sub-variant can be treated using the techniques we have been using for the past three years since the outbreak. The most crucial precautions are keeping up with vaccines and booster shots, using a mask, avoiding close contact with others, cleaning your hands, and making an effort to spend as much time as possible outside or in well-ventilated locations.
Vaccination is the most effective defence against the new omicron form. It’s possible that the virus evolved and got past the initial immunisations. Consequently, it is essential to obtain the bivalent booster that specifically targets several SARS-CoV-2 subvariants.
IS THE ‘ARCTURUS’ SUB-VARIANT OF COVID-19 A THREAT?
Experts are closely scrutinising the Arcturus sub-variant. But unlike when the coronavirus first started to spread, they are not worried about it. There is no need to panic, but Arcturus should still be avoided, according to researchers. High-risk populations must take measures and wear masks, including those over 65 with underlying illnesses, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems.
DOES THE ARCTURUS MUTATION MAKE IT MORE DANGEROUS?
According to WHO, Arcturus is comparable to the common XBB. 1.5 variety, but differs in that it carries “one additional mutational mutation in the spike protein, which in lab studies shows increased infectivity, as well as potential increased pathogenicity.“
There is currently no evidence that it may result in more severe instances, even if this may suggest that it will spread more faster.
Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia in Britain, stated in an interview, “We’ve seen this before. The virus has alterations that theoretically should make it more virulent, but in practise, you don’t observe that.
I don’t anticipate it causing more serious infections than we’ve seen in prior waves, but it will likely take over as the dominant form in the United States, Europe, and most other nations for a long time, he added.
WHAT’S THE SITUATION IN INDIA?
According to the country’s Health Ministry, the number of active coronavirus cases in India has been rapidly increasing in recent weeks.
In 2021, a wave of diseases involving the delta variety ravaged the nation and resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of individuals. Recently, cases have increased once more, prompting several governments to restore mask requirements.
According to the Reuters news agency, the federal health minister also requested last week that states enhance genetic testing and hold simulated drills in hospitals. In India, Arcturus has already taken the place of other types, according to the March, 2024 study from the WHO.
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