Hyderabad: While double mutation of SARS-Cov2 was localised to Maharashtra in February, rampant interstate travel has taken the virus to all parts of Telangana. The movement of people, gatherings in clusters and non-use of masks have worsened the situation.
Dr Rakesh Mishra, director at CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology says, "There is no major change in the disease pattern due to the double mutation. The infection rate is high as the wayward behaviour of the people helped in the spread of the pandemic. We are doing lab studies of the new mutation and find out if the new variant is highly infectious or not."
“A major concern is that every few individuals on whom the virus jumps leads to a mutation. This makes many different versions of the virus and those who come in contact can contract any of the new variants too.”
If the new variant spreads and leads to changes in disease patterns or to a higher mortality rate, then it would be a variant of concern. At present, double mutation has shown mild infection in those who contracted the virus.
With all three variants of concern in India having come from the UK, South Africa and Brazil, doctors are not sure which variant they are dealing with. A doctor explained, "Some patients are responding well to medicines but others require steroids and other high-end drugs. They have prolonged breathlessness, requiring all the medications for recovery."
The variants problem, say doctors, has led to many being given high-end drugs, but it is not known whether they really required them. The side-effects of medicines leading to post-Covid-19 treatment is also a concern as the immune system of the infected person is put on high alert.
A major worry noted in districts is that, unlike in the first wave, smaller towns are having high numbers of cases.
A government doctor from Nizamabad said, "ICUs are now having only Covid-19 patients. Hospitals have been converted into Covid wards due to the high loads of cases."
"The load of patients is high and serious cases in some districts are being referred to Hyderabad. There are some districts where ventilators are fully engaged. Also, making people understand the care protocols at home is a challenge as they have not opted for home care solutions."
In Hyderabad, despite hospitals attending to cases, double of this number of patients are in home treatment. Those with mild cases are being given home kits by hospitals and their status is monitored via video calls.
Experts say the situation is grim and the next few weeks will decide the course of the pandemic.