Coronavirus (Covid-19) Disease: All you need to know about Covid-19 variants, symptoms and treatment

Types of Coronavirus Disease, Coronavirus Symptoms, Coronavirus Prevention, Covid-19 Vaccine: While experts are studying the reason behind this unexpected surge, the World Health Organisation has classified the B.1.617 variant of the coronavirus, which was first identified in India, as a ‘variant of concern’ at the global level. 

Coronavirus Symptoms, How to Prevent Coronavirus
Coronavirus treatment depends upon the severity of the disease i.e. mild, moderate and severe. (Photo Source: PTI)

Coronavirus Symptoms and Prevention, Types of Coronavirus: India is in the middle of the Covid-19 second wave and it recorded the world’s sharpest spike in the number of new coronavirus infections this month. This sudden surge left most of the states, including national capital Delhi and financial capital Mumbai, running out of hospital beds, oxygen life-saving equipment, and drugs. While experts are studying the reason behind this unexpected surge, the World Health Organisation has classified the B.1.617 variant of the coronavirus, which was first identified in India, as a ‘variant of concern’ at the global level. The variant has been so far found in 17 countries, raising global concern.

“We are classifying this as a variant of concern at a global level. There is some available information to suggest increased transmissibility,” Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead on COVID-19, told a briefing in Geneva on Monday.

Coronavirus Types: How Many Types of Coronavirus are there?

The development has once again shifted the attention towards different kinds of coronavirus variants or types of coronavirus in India. There are different types of Covid-19 variants found in India. But broadly there are four types of coronavirus strains that are infecting humans and are responsible for most of the cases. There are some other types but they are region-specific.

Type of coronavirus variants are – Covid-19 Brazil variant, which was formally known as the “B.1.1.28” variant; Covid-19 South Africa variant, which was formally known as the “B.1.351” variant; Covid-19 UK variant, which was formally known as the “B.1.1.7” variant;  Covid-19 N440K (B.1.36) variant and Covid-19 E484Q variant.  N440K strain was prevalent in southern states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana in December 2020 and  January & February 2021. However, it dropped down drastically in March and now the share of N440K among the positives is very minimal.

Presently, B.1.617 and B.1 are the major strains identified from the samples collected in South India. They are considered to be very infectious and are also spreading in the younger age groups apart from the adults.

Apart from these variants, there are some mutations of the coronavirus too. The types of Covid-19 mutations that are widespread in India are – Covid-19 Double Mutant Strain and Covid-19 Triple Mutant Strain.

Coronavirus Symptoms: How Long Do Coronavirus Symptom Lasts?

Some of the very common symptoms of coronavirus infection are fever and dry cough. Headache, sore throat, nasal congestion, muscle pain, or body aches are some other symptoms. Some patients may even have diarrhea. Some may also have a loss of taste and smell.  However, it must be noted that there are many who don’t develop any symptoms and don’t even feel unwell. So it is very common that a person is Covid-19 positive and not having a fever. However, one should seek immediate medical help if he or she is showing any of these signs – trouble breathing, persistent pain in the chest, and inability to stay awake.

If a person is exposed to coronavirus, the symptoms may start to appear anywhere from 1 to 4 days after getting infected with the virus. The fever pattern of those infected with Covid-19 infected may vary from person to person. In some cases, a person may have feelings of anxiety.

Coronavirus Coping: How to Stop Worrying About Covid-19, Mental Health During Covid-19

Management of mental health during coronavirus crisis is one of the most important factors. Most of the time a coronavirus patient has to isolate and loneliness can increase stress and anxiety. This can worsen the mental health of the person. In order to keep yourself away from the mental and psychological effects of Covid-19, you must try the below-mentioned things:

  1. Take breaks from reading or watching the news about the pandemic.
  2. Take care of the body. This means, eat healthy food, get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, do mediation.
  3. Try to indulge in activities of your interest.

Coronavirus Prevention Tips: How to Protect Yourself from Covid-19?

The disease by far has been unpredictable but there are certain things that people can do to protect themselves from coronavirus infection. Here are some coronavirus prevention tips that can be helpful in controlling the spread of coronavirus infection.

  1. Wash your hand regularly with soap or clean it with an alcohol-based sanitizer. This kills viruses that may be on your hand because of touching any infected surface.
  2. Avoid touching your eyes and mouth.
  3. Wearing masks is important to maintain good respiratory hygiene.
  4. Follow the protocol of social distancing i.e. maintain at least a distance of 1 metre from another person.

Coronavirus is a highly infectious disease and can be controlled only if each one of us follows the necessary guidelines.

Coronavirus Testing: Covid-19 Test Procedure & Types, When to Get Tested for Covid?

A person needs to get tested for Covid-19 if he or she is having any of the above-mentioned symptoms. This is important because testing can identify whether you are Covid positive or Covid negative. The coronavirus test result can be helpful in providing the right treatment if required. It is important to get the testing as it will let you self-isolate at the right time and help prevent the spread of the disease. Experts even suggest that people who came in close contact with some infected should also get tested whether or not they have symptoms. Also, there is no best time to get the test done after being exposed to the virus. Usually, the first week is considered to be crucial for those who get exposed to the virus. Often, getting tested after 4-5 days of exposure is considered to be appropriate.

Below mentioned are some of the widely used types of Covid tests:

  1. The most accurate method of testing these days is the RT-PCR or real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test. This test detects the virus’s RNA present in the host’s samples like nasal or oral swabs and saliva. A person can get the test result generally in 2-3 days.
  2. The rapid antigen test usually takes 15-30 minutes to declare results. However, it is not considered to be the most accurate test for COVID-19.

Coronavirus Treatment: Covid-19 Treatment Guidelines, Latest Treatment for Coronavirus

Coronavirus treatment depends upon the severity of the disease i.e. mild, moderate and severe. In mild cases, a patient must monitor temperature and oxygen saturation at home and seek medical attention if there is any difficulty in breathing. Below mentioned are the latest guidelines issued by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

Clinical guidance for management of adult Covid-19 patients. (Image Source: AIIMS)

Coronavirus Vaccine: Types and Names of Covid-19 Vaccines?

The Drugs Control General of India recently gave emergency use approval to Russia’s Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine. This makes it the third vaccine to get clearance. The two vaccines which are already being administered are Covishield and Covaxin.

While Covaxin is manufactured by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology, Covishield has been developed by Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) and AstraZeneca-Oxford University.

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First published on: 11-05-2021 at 19:45 IST