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The new variant of Covid has been reported to have an unusual symptom that is puzzling scientists

The new variant of Covid has been reported to have an unusual symptom that is puzzling scientists

A new variant of Covid is spreading across the United States and is said to have a symptom known to be particularly common among young children: a form of “pink eye”.

The new variant of COVID-19, called Arcturus (Omicron XBB.1.16), was first identified in January 2023. It is rapidly making its way through several countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore , China and India. , and is known to cause conjunctivitis, commonly known as “pink eye”.

The Arcturus variant originated from strain B.1.1.529, also known as Omicron, which first appeared in South Africa in November 2021. Since then, the Omicron strain has undergone multiple mutations, giving rise to variants such as Omicron BA.2, BA. 5, BA.2.75, BQ.1.1 and finally strain XBB.

As of April 2023, the XBB.1.5 strain, a descendant of the Omicron XBB strain, has spread worldwide, with the new variant XBB.1.16 (Arcturus) becoming prevalent in several countries.

Dr. Sean Lin, an American expert in virology, told the Epoch Times that while it is difficult to predict the trajectory and pathogenicity of the virus, the public should be concerned but not panic. Dr. Lin claimed that Arcturus is 36 times more contagious than the B.1.1 strain.

However, due to natural and vaccinated immunity as well as other virological factors, it is not as deadly as the original strain or the Delta variant.

A study published in Lancet Infectious Diseases on May 3, 2023, conducted by researchers at the University of Tokyo, found that the XBB.1.16 variant demonstrates a greater growth advantage in the human population compared to XBB.1 and XBB. 1.5. In addition, it exhibits significant immune evasion capabilities and potent resistance to various COVID-19 antibodies.

According to the Central Epidemic Command Center of the Taiwan National Health Command Center, as of April 20, 2023, the XBB strain accounted for 77% of all COVID-19 variants globally. Among these variants, XBB.1.5 accounted for 47.9%, while Arcturus increased from 1% to 4%, with an upward trend in the United States.

Symptoms of Arcturus include fever, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, diarrhea, fatigue, and shortness of breath. Severe cases may present with hypoxic saturation and respiratory distress syndrome. Children with Arcturus may experience fever, cough, conjunctivitis, and other flu-like symptoms.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) suspects that conjunctivitis (pink eye) is a symptom of the Arcturus subvariant, especially in children. If a child has itchy and red eyes, AAO advises parents not to panic, as it may be a common eye condition unrelated to the variant. However, nucleic acid testing is recommended to confirm the presence of the virus.

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