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Second Wave of COVID-19 Witnesses More Deadly Strain Than Ever
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Second Wave of COVID-19 Witnesses More Deadly Strain Than Ever

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Highlights:
  • The overall pattern of increasing coronavirus cases is shown to spike up with the “second wave” of COVID-19
  • India is said to have contributed the largest proportion of newly mutated N440K variants of COVID-19 at 33% followed by the US and Germany
  • The shorter incubation period of just 3-4 days halts the immune response of almost all individuals, from older to younger population, thereby rapidly bringing them to serious condition-stage

India is rapidly witnessing the surge in the number of cases during this "second wave" of COVID-19. The commencement of the coronavirus pandemic early in 2020 has deliberately devastated people's lives down the year.

Following the gradual decline of the first wave over time, there resided the anticipation regarding the emergence of waves of cases, a pattern seen in other virus pandemics. However, the overall pattern has been one of increasing cases of COVID-19, varying with different locations.

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Unfortunately, the reopening of normal lives along with lapses in these infection prevention efforts has caused the number of coronavirus infections to rise again

Mutated Coronavirus

For the past two months, the rising cases of coronavirus have set Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, and Chhattisgarh together to contribute about 50% of the samples. This intimates the geographically localized spread of the "N440K variant" in India.

While the reason behind the havoc created in Visakhapatnam and other parts of the State due to the N440K variant (also called the AP variant) is still unclear, scientists from the Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) and the Academy for Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR), Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh (who discovered new variant), report it to be at least 15 times more virulent than the earlier ones.
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This new N440K variant is reported to have a shorter incubation period, and the progress of the disease is much rapid. It may be even stronger than the previous Indian variants of B1.617 and B1.618.

Rapid Deterioration of Cases

The scientists at the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, New Delhi reported that the N440K was slowly dying out and fast being replaced by two other variants — B.1.1.7 and B.1.617 in almost all southern states including Kerala.

"We are still to ascertain, which strain is in circulation right now, as samples have been sent to CCMB for analysis. But one thing is certain that the variant at present which is in circulation in Visakhapatnam is quite different from what we have seen during the first wave last year," said District Collector V. Vinay Chand, who has been updated by senior doctors in the health department.

The mutant virus appears to fuel up the second wave of COVID-19 in certain pockets of India. The shorter viral exposure and incubation period of just 3-4 days halt the immune response of the patients bringing them to a serious condition-stage - hypoxia (low oxygen in blood) or dyspnea (shortness of breath) stage, as a result of the much faster cytokine storm.

Surge in the Spikes of COVID-19

The virus is capable of affecting the older to even the younger population in a big way, including those who are fitness freaks and have high immunity levels, thereby leaving none sparred. This highly unpredictable nature of the mutant coronavirus has led to a shortage of ICU beds and oxygen.

India is said to have contributed the largest proportion of N440K variants at 33% followed by the US and Germany. The proportion of the N440K variant in India has increased from 4.9% sequence earlier to 8.82% between January and April 24.

The studies by experts reveal that the significantly higher viral titers generating capacity of the N440K variant prototype in a shorter duration is responsible for promoting its faster spread among specific populations.

Coping with the Enhanced Vigor of COVID-19 Virus

  • With spiking effects of the second wave of coronavirus, the best way to keep it at bay is to follow COVID-19 appropriate safety practices like wearing a mask, regularly cleaning your hands, and coughing into a bent elbow or tissue along with physical distancing (6 feet about 2 arm's length), that may help evade the severity of COVID-19 infection
  • Avoid the crowd and keep away from gatherings
  • Staying home as far as possible in adequately ventilated spaces
  • Seek medical advice at the earliest if any symptoms suspected of COVID-19
  • Maintain a healthy diet to boost up your immune system

Reference:
  1. Coronavirus Second Wave? Why Cases Increase - ( https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/first-and-second-waves-of-coronavirus)


Source: Medindia

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