Covid 19

Arcturus- An Extremely Transmissible COVID-19 Variant Has a New Symptom

  • April 17, 2023
  • 2 mins read

Formally known as XBB 1.16, Arcturus is a subvariant of Omicron that is causing concerns, and again the world is witnessing a sudden spurt in COVID-19 infections/cases.

The agency named WHO has its eye on XBB.1.16, dubbed as Arcturus. This new variant is fueling a fresh surge of COVID-19 cases in India, Australia, Singapore, the US, and other nations.

The Health Ministry of India has held mock drills to evaluate COVID preparedness amid a surge in cases of the COVID infections, a viral disease.

Symptoms of Arcturus: As per Dr. Vipin Vashishtha; a pediatrician in India and former head of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) Committee on Immunization, the symptoms of sub-variant of Omicron (XBB 1.16 or Arcturus) are:

  • high fever
  • cough
  • itchy conjunctivitis or pinkeye

Investigators at Nebraska Medicine’s Truhlsen Eye Institute had also witnessed the virus in the eye’s tear film which could be responsible for causing conjunctivitis. They said that the symptoms of conjunctivitis include itching, tearing, or watery eyes, swelling, redness, discharge, and pain or irritation.

According to Raj Rajnarayanan, assistant dean of research and associate professor at the New York Institute of Technology, “XBB.1.16/Arcturus and its other descendants have the oomph to outdistance other existing variants of COVID-19. The new sub-variant of Omicron evolved rapidly, he added.”

Health experts had previously warned about XBB.1.16 variant saying that it has a 140 percent growth advantage over XBB.1.5, making it more rampant.

According to Maria Van Kerkhove (a WHO official), the sub-variant of Omicron has been circulating for a few months, and it doesn’t seem to be responsible for causing more serious diseases.

Nevertheless, “we are anxious about the probability for the Arcturus to transform to become not only abundantly transmissible but more alarming,” Van Kerkhove added. So we all have to remain a bit more vigilant.