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All You Need to Know About the New Strain of Coronavirus

Know about the symptoms and treatment of the new variant of coronavirus, and how it's different from the original strain.

  • 03 Jan 2021
  • min read
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Experts say the mutant variant of coronavirus, which is believed to have originated from the UK, is even more infectious and dangerous.

2020 was a tough year. The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus disrupted the lives of millions of people across the globe. While some lost loved ones to the disease, many had to face financial turmoil as they lost their jobs due to the global lockdown.

However, just when the lockdown restrictions began to ease around the world, and everyone started believing the calamity is over, the Government of the United Kingdom (UK) announced that it had found a new strain or variant of the coronavirus. According to doctors and scientists, the mutant coronavirus variant is more contagious and even more dangerous than the original strain.

Citing this new coronavirus's danger, the UK Government imposed the most stringent lockdown in the country from January 5. Now, the questions that arise are, "What are the symptoms of this new COVID variant?", "Does India need to worry?", "Are the current vaccines going to be effective?", etc.

In this article, you will find information related to the new strain of coronavirus, including its symptoms, threats, associated dangers, and precautions you need to take. Read on.

The new coronavirus strain: What is it?

The new strain of the coronavirus was first identified in a man living in the south-east of England. The variant was named "VUI 202012/01" by the UK scientists. It includes a genetic mutation in the 'spike' protein, which is the reason for its highly contagious nature. According to researchers, this strain of the coronavirus has a minimum of 17 changes of mutation.

How harmful is the new Covid strain?

As per early reports, the coronavirus's new variant is highly contagious and can spread up to 70% faster than the original strain. In fact, in the UK, more than 60% of COVID patients are found to be infected with this new strain of coronavirus. What's more worrying is the fact that this variant is mostly infecting the people between 30 to 60 years of age.

Keeping in mind the threat this Covid strain poses to the population, several countries have temporarily suspended UK citizens' arrival on their shores. Few cases of infections have also been reported from Denmark, South Africa, Netherlands, Australia, France, and Italy.

What's the situation in India?

The new variant of coronavirus has entered India as well. However, the spike in the number of cases isn't too alarming, and the situation is mostly under control. As per government data, the total number of people who have tested positive for the UK strain of coronavirus stood at 165 on January 28.

Keeping in mind the safety of its citizens, the Indian Government has extended the temporary restrictions on the arrival of flights originating from the UK till February 14. Several states such as Maharashtra, West Bengal and Kerela have also taken various steps to control the spread of the mutant COVID-19 variant.

What are the common infection symptoms?

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) conducted a survey to identify the most common symptoms in new covid positive cases. According to the ONS reports, some of the new COVID variant's symptoms include cough, sore throat, muscle pain, joint pain and fatigue.

The reports also suggested the differences between the new coronavirus strain symptoms compared to the old one. It pointed out that the people infected with the latest COVID-19 variant are less likely to experience the loss of smell and taste, which was a common symptom of the original strain.

What are the precautions that you need to take?

The precautions you need to take to avoid getting infected from the new coronavirus's new strain are no different. You should frequently wash your hands with soap or use hand sanitisers to keep your hands clean and germ-free. Also, you should always wear a mask and follow social distancing norms in public places.

In case you experience any of the symptoms, consult a doctor immediately and get yourself tested for the infection. In case you're found to be positive, obey the existing isolation rules and abide by the restrictions till you recover completely.

Will the current vaccines work against the new variant?

As per the scientists, there is no evidence that the current vaccines, including the ones developed by Pfizer and BioNtech in the UK and Covaxin or Covishield in India, will be ineffective against the new coronavirus strain. In fact, a study by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV) has found that Bharat Biotech's Covaxin is entirely effective against the mutant variant.

Also read:

What about health insurance coverage?

Following guidelines from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), many Indian insurers started offering standard corona insurance policies - Corona Kavach and Corona Rakshak. In case you've purchased one of these policies, you need not worry about medical expenses, as they will also cover the infection caused by the new coronavirus strain.

In case you haven't purchased a health insurance policy yet, you can buy the Corona Kavach Plan from ICICI Lombard. Or you can opt for any of our other health policies, such as Complete Health Insurance and Health Booster, which cover Covid-19 hospitalisation. Our health policies come with benefits such as flexible sum insured, coverage for domiciliary care, and cashless treatment at 6500+ network hospitals across the country.

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