Andhra officials worried as new strain suspected behind Covid spike

Andhra officials worried as new strain suspected behind Covid spike

Vizag, May 4 (IANS) With Andhra Pradesh reeling severely under the Covid-19 crisis, health officials suspect that the N440K variant, discovered by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), might be the reason behind the rapid deterioration of the health conditions of Covid patients in the last few days, in Visakhapatnam as well as other parts of the state.

The new Covid variant, named as the AP strain, which was identified in Kurnool district, is believed to be 15 times more deadly and stronger than other Indian variants.

The Visakhapatnam district health authorities are closely monitoring the developments.

"We are yet to confirm, which strain is in circulation right now, as samples have been sent, for analysis,to CCMB. But one thing is certain that the variant, currently in circulation in Visakhapatnam, is quite different from what we have seen during the first wave last year," Visakhapatnam District Collector V. Vinay Chand said.

Experts said that as compared to the first wave experienced last year, this year, the virus can be acquired through a shorter exposure.

The net result is that more people can end up getting infected in a lower time frame.

According to a senior health official in the district, earlie, a Covid patient would reach the hypoxia or dyspnea stage, in about a week. However, in the current scenario, patients are reaching the serious condition stage in barely three to four days.

Experts are especially concerned about the highly unpredictable nature of the AP variant.

"The younger generation is being majorly affected. Not everyone responds to the treatment too." the official adds.

Apart from the overall sense of panic, the net effect of the possible new Covid strain is evident in the growing demand-supply gap for beds with oxygen, and ICU beds.

--IANS

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