Covid in India: New variant causes unique symptom in children, say reports

Expert says apart from high fever, cold and cough, the Arcturus variant causes eye disease, which was not seen in earlier waves

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A healthcare worker collects a swab sample of a man for Covid-19 test, amid a rise in coronavirus cases in India. — PTI
A healthcare worker collects a swab sample of a man for Covid-19 test, amid a rise in coronavirus cases in India. — PTI

Published: Sat 15 Apr 2023, 12:09 AM

As Covid-19 cases in India has been rising after an interval, a new variant is causing unique symptom in children, experts have said.

Symptoms of the XBB 1.16 variant, also known as Arcturus, causes high fever, cold, cough and itchy conjunctivitis with sticky eyes, news reports quoted Vipin M Vashishtha, former convenor of the Indian Academy of Paediatrics.

“For the last 2 days, have started getting pediatric Covid cases once again after a gap of 6 mo! An infantile phenotype seems emerging—treated infants w/ high fever, cold & cough, & non-purulent, itchy conjunctivitis w/ sticky eyes, not seen in earlier waves,” Vashishta tweeted on April 6.

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India recorded 11,109 new cases of Covid-19 infection in the last 24 hours, the country’s health ministry said on Friday. On Thursday, India recorded 10,158 new Covid-19 cases, 30 per cent more than Wednesday.

"All eyes should be on India! If XBB.1.16 aka #Arcturus could succeed in wading through the 'sturdy' population immunity of Indians that successfully resisted the onslaught of variants like BA.2.75, BA.5, BQs, and XBB.1.5, then the whole world must be seriously worried!!" Vashishta said in another tweet.


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