scorecardresearch
Follow Us:
Saturday, May 08, 2021

‘Strains very infectious, spreading fast, peak may come mid-May or June’

The second wave has more and more patients presenting with aggressive symptoms including fever of one to three days duration followed by rapidly worsening breathlessness and oxygen de-saturations, said Dr Zafar Ahmed, Senior Consultant, Critical Care, Pulmonology and Chest, Fortis Hospital, Mohali.

Written by Parul | Chandigarh |
April 17, 2021 5:25:50 am
PGIMER, Covid-19Prof D Bahera, head, Department of Pulmonary Medicine, PGI, said that the viral load of the new variant is more, though some studies do indicate that the overall mortality is less. (File)

As many as 60 samples of Covid patients were sent by the Department of Virology, PGI, Chandigarh, to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in March. Seventy per cent of them had UK variants of Covid-19, one sample was found to have double mutation and 681H mutant was observed in 20 per cent.

“Both strains are very infectious and spreading fast, involving all age groups, including the younger lot,” explained PGI Director Professor Jagat Ram. If the variants are causing any different symptoms, the manifestations of the disease are the same as last year, though more data is needed to understand if there are major differences.

“As the new strains are causing a faster spread, wearing a three-layered mask is very important. Both our vaccines will work against the mutant and we need to do our best to check the transmission. We at PGI are 75 per cent full and neighbouring states must increase manpower and strength, for the peak maybe only in mid-May or June,” said Prof. Ram.

The second wave has more and more patients presenting with aggressive symptoms including fever of one to three days duration followed by rapidly worsening breathlessness and oxygen de-saturations, said Dr Zafar Ahmed, Senior Consultant, Critical Care, Pulmonology and Chest, Fortis Hospital, Mohali. He added that extra pulmonary involvements are seen including cardiac, neurological and gastrointestinal systems and younger children are also getting infected. Treatment options remain the same, though an aggressive approach is required to control rapid worsening and treatment outcomes so far have been similar or better than the last year, probably due to earlier presentation and more treatment options than last time. “In our practice, most of the cases we have suspected have been detected by RT PCR, though reports from colleagues do suggest false negatives getting higher. As per data from the vaccine trials, our vaccines are effective against these strains,” he added.

‘Mutant 70 per cent more infectious’

The aggressive spread of the disease, said Prof. Rakesh Kochhar, head, department of gastroenterology, PGI, can be attributed to the mutations. “The latest data suggests that the British variant is 70 per cent more infectious, though there are suggestions that the mortality is low, but right now it could be a conjecture,” said Dr Kochhar, adding that some other mutants could be playing a role in some other places, for the genetic structure keeps changing.

The government, adds Dr Kochhar, constituted a task force in December to study the mutation and genetic changes in the virus across the country. “There may be new variants, double mutations, like we are now seeing, periodically we need to review the variations and also if the strain is more infectious, then different appropriate measures like more isolation, containment may be needed. The virus survives by undergoing changes, so we need different approaches. Also, earlier children were not getting infected, but now they are, they may not get severe disease, but can bring it home and transmit or spread it,” said Dr Kochhar.

Prof D Bahera, head, Department of Pulmonary Medicine, PGI, said that the viral load of the new variant is more, though some studies do indicate that the overall mortality is less.

📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines

For all the latest Chandigarh News, download Indian Express App.

  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
x