DECEMBER 29, 2022
New Delhi: Amid soaring Covid-19 cases in China, the Union Health Ministry recently warned about a possible coronavirus fourth wave after mid-January adding that the next 40 days will be crucial as the country may witness an uptick in cases, owing to a virus wave in China and the festive season. On a positive note, the Centre said that the wave, if it hits, will not be as fatal as the Delta one and the severity will remain low.
India has so far witnessed three surges of Covid-19, including the deadly second wave driven by the Delta variant of the coronavirus which majorly attacked the lungs and led to oxygen deficiencies in an infected person.
Indian braces up to tackle Covid
Some places, including Karnataka and Chandigarh, have brought back mask mandates amid the festive season to curb any potential outbreak. The Centre has also directed states to ramp up genome sequencing of positive Covid cases for early detection of new variants.
As per sources, the government is also likely to make it mandatory for passengers arriving from China and five other places to have a negative RT-PCR report from next week. Meanwhile, 39 international passengers have been found positive for COVID-19 out of the 6000 tests that were conducted upon arrival in the last two days.
Fourth wave threat: Will new coronavirus attack brain?
A new study analyzing the evolving trend of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Omicron sub-variant, which is fueling the virus wave in China, may be coming for the human brain. The research says that the new variant may be fatal for the brain rather than the respiratory system.
According to a report in South China Morning Post, Covid-19 may be changing the way it attacks the human body and might now attack the human brain rather than the respiratory system as it used to. The Omicron variant, which triggered the third winter wave mostly affected the upper respiratory system while the Delta, responsible for the second wave mainly attacked the lungs.
The research says that the subvariant BA.5, which is driving the massive Covid surge in China, caused significant damage to the brains of mice and cultured human brain tissues as compared to the earlier BA.1 subvariant.
The infections led to brain inflammation, weight loss and death, the China-based daily reported.
“Compared with BA.1, we found that a BA.5 isolate displayed increased pathogenicity in K18-hACE2 mice with rapid weight loss, brain infection and encephalitis, and mortality. In addition, BA.5 productively infected human brain organoids significantly better than BA.1,” the research manuscript uploaded to the preprint platform bioRxiv read.
Notably, the study has not been peer-reviewed and hence, health experts have asked people to adopt caution while reading the results. The study also relies on the mouse model which as per experts is a big limitation arguing that it does not apply to humans.