New Delhi: Unusual symptoms ranging from hearing impairment, severe gastric problems and blood clots leading to gangrene in patients show that the Delta variant of COVID could be a severe strain, Bloomberg reported quoting several Indian doctors.
The doctors also testified that these symptoms are not typically seen in other COVID patients but particular in patients who have been infected with the Delta variant which in turn increases the higher risk of hospitalisation.
The variant, also known as B.1.617.2, has reportedly travelled to more than 60 countries over the past six months. It is found to be the most contagious variant, and vaccines are also less effective against it.
Abdul Ghafur, an infectious disease physician at Apollo Hospital, Chennai, sought more clinical evidence that the mentioned symptoms are related to delta variant since he noticed more covid patients with severe diarrhoea. He added that the coronavirus seems unpredictable against the world's belief that they conquered the virus last year.
Across India, Covid 19 patients are experiencing stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, hearing loss and joint pains. But the Beta and Gamma variants detected first in South Africa, and Brazil respectively, showed little or no clinical symptoms, according to a study conducted by the University of New South Wales.
Some patients in India developed microthrombi, meaning small blood clots, which are severe and leads to death of tissues and the development of gangrene. Ganesh Manudhane, a Mumbai cardiologist, says that he is witnessing such a patient once a week while he saw around three or four cases last year. Manudhane says that he was baffled by the fact that most covid patients diagnosed with the blood clot have no history of blood coagulation related problems.
The Delta variant is reportedly 50 per cent more contagious than the Alpha variant found in the UK.
Some patients are catching clots in blood vessels that supply the intestine, which ends in stomach pain, which is the only symptom they experience. Others lost hearing, found swelling around neck and severe tonsillitis, says Hetal Marfatia, an ENT surgeon at Mumbai's King Edwar Memorial Hospital. However, she added that every person is showing different symptoms.
The current epidemic is very alarming because of its rapid spread among people, including children, says Chetan Mundada, a paediatrician from Hyderabad. Ghafur says that the Delta variant is causing an increased rate of spread among households, and he witnessed entire families with Covid symptoms.
Also, the rare Mucormycosis, a fungal infection, is surging in the country, and 8800 case- both covid patients and survivors- were reported to be affected by it as of May 22. Mucormycosis was categorised as an epidemic as a result.
The evidence shows that along with Delta, there is at least one other variant also out there evading vaccine, putting pressure on vaccine manufacturers to tweak existing vaccine shots or create new ones. Dr Ghafur says that new vaccines should be prepared, keeping in mind that there will be more variants so that we could keep up with them at least.
India reported 18.6 million Covid cases this year, while it was 10.3 million during last year.
(based on Bloomberg story)