Covid patients infected with the Indian variant are getting sicker faster than in previous waves, Chinese doctors have said.
In Guangzhou City, where the mutant strain is known to spread, doctors say about 12% of patients become seriously ill within four days of the onset of symptoms.
The proportion was previously only 2-3% with the original Wuhan virus and the variant that first appeared in Kent and has become dominant globally.
Evidence in China adds to a growing body of evidence that the so-called Delta strain is not only much more virulent than previous versions, but also more dangerous.
In Britain, authorities estimate the strain is twice as likely to cause hospitalization as the Kent strain and is at least 60% more infectious.
British experts say young people also appear to be more likely to be admitted with the new variant, due to a combination of fewer young people being vaccinated and because the strain appears to have a higher risk of serious illness.
But British doctors did not reflect any claims that infected patients were getting sicker faster.
Some scientists believe the symptoms of the virus have become milder since the variant began to take off, which may be because younger people – who are less vulnerable to the disease – have been infected.
Guan Xiangdong, director of intensive care medicine at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, said the amount of Indian variant virus detected in the body increases to higher levels and decreases more slowly than with previous strains. .
This could partly explain why the mutant virus is more infectious, with patients coughing up more virus particles, and more deadly, as the immune system has to fight off more of the disease.
Guangzhou case: The city in southern China’s Guangdong Province has seen a slight increase in the number of cases since late May after an outbreak of the Indian variant “Delta”. Source: Johns Hopkins University
It was first detected in a 75-year-old woman on May 21. Since then, the province has seen more than 200 symptomatic cases of Covid. China does not classify a patient as a confirmed case if they have no symptoms. Source: Johns Hopkins University
Authorities in southern China’s Guangdong Province are carrying out mass testing and have lifted lockdown restrictions to curb an outbreak in Guangzhou.
The city’s latest wave of cases is due to the Indian variant which was first detected in a 75-year-old woman on May 21.
Since then, the province has seen more than 200 symptomatic cases of Covid. China does not classify a patient as a confirmed case if they have no symptoms.
Checkpoints have been set up to monitor entry and exit movements from parts of Guangzhou, and flights have been grounded in the city and nearby Foshan town to bring the latest outbreak under control.
An extraordinary testing blitz was also launched in the two cities, with 42 million swabs taken in three weeks – almost enough to vaccinate each resident twice. The cities have a combined population of 28 million.
Guangdong province registered seven new cases yesterday and the average number of daily infections is currently 12.
Professor Guan told state media last week that symptoms in patients infected with the Indian variant are different from those of older strains.
Headaches and sore throats now most common symptoms of Covid, study finds
A headache, sore throat and runny nose are now the most reported symptoms of Covid, scientists say.
NHS bosses recognize only three telltale signs of the virus – a temperature, another continuous cough and loss of taste and smell.
But scientists at King’s College London, who are leading a coronavirus surveillance project, say the disease “is acting differently now”.
Scientists believe the Indian Delta variant, which has been spreading rapidly since early May, may be causing the change in symptoms.
It could also be because young people are infected and are more likely to only suffer from mild illness.
He said eight out of ten symptomatic patients in Guangzhou, southern China’s Guangdong Province, had developed a fever.
It’s unclear how this compares to previous waves in China, but it is consistent with the findings of a major UK symptom-tracking study conducted by King’s College London.
The continuing British study found that the mutant strain caused symptoms more akin to a ‘bad cold’ than typical symptoms of Covid.
Professor Tim Spector, who leads the research, said variant Indian patients were more likely to report headaches, sore throats, runny nose and fever.
Previously, the most common signs of illness were a continuous cough, or loss of appetite or smell.
Chinese authorities have not specified how many new infections of the Indian variant have affected people who have already been vaccinated.
There have been questions about the effectiveness of Chinese vaccines, and the nation has been reluctant to release vaccine trial data.
But there is evidence in the UK that vaccines work less well against the new variant, especially after a single dose.
The latest analysis from Public Health England, released last week, found that a dose of the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine was around 33% effective in stopping the infection of the Indian variant, compared to around 50% against that of Kent.
Two doses provided over 80 percent protection against the Delta strain, slightly less than the “Alpha”, or Kent, version (88 percent).