In the last day, 11,692 new cases of covid-19 have been reported in India. Over the past two weeks, there has been a dramatic spike in the number of reported cases every day across the country.

Health Ministry statistics show that there are 66,170 confirmed cases of covid-19 across the country. The daily optimism rate in India has not changed from 5.09 percent. The recent uptick in cases can be traced to a new Omicron subvariant called XBB.1.16.

The World Health Organization has tracked this variant. This variation has reportedly been found in 29 different nations. It’s commonly referred to as Arcturus. This is what we know about that particular form.

Arcturus Variant: What Is It?

In 2021, researchers in India discovered a particularly altered strain of COVID-19. This Omicron strain has over 42 changes in its spike protein, making it highly infectious even to those who have been immunized repeatedly.

Experts have noted, however, that the COVID virus is remarkable in that it can undergo rapid mutations. In 2023, scientists identified XBB.1.16, a novel subvariant of Omicron with increased infectious potential.

The XBB.1.16 Omicron subvariant is responsible for the recent nationwide increase in cases. The WHO closely tracks this variance. XBB.1.16 is available in 29 countries. Arcturus is its common name.

Arcturus/XBB.1.16: How Dangerous?

In January of 2023, a strain of XBB known as XBB.1.16, or the Arcturus variety, was discovered. It’s a subtype of Omicron, and it can disperse more rapidly than any other strain of the virus ever seen.

XB.1.16 is identical to XBB.1.5 but has a mutation that makes it more contagious, according to the WHO. The WHO stated this new type might be better than the Delta wave.

According to specialists, the Arcturus form has supplanted other variations in India and is now the country’s most common. It spreads rapidly across the states but with a relatively low hospitalization rate and mostly tolerable symptoms. The variation causes minor symptoms that are easily misdiagnosed as the flu.

Health professionals have observed the prevalence of XBB 1.16 cases with two symptoms

This novel form of the virus is characterized by a more severe version of the characteristic COVID symptom, fever. Patients infected at this time are showing higher temperatures than in the past.

Additional warning signs

Not only do infected patients exhibit these two symptoms, but they also exhibit others, such as the dry mouth and ear discomfort. Bad breath and a thick, stringy sensation in the mouth are symptoms of dry mouth. Because of this, swallowing becomes problematic as well.

Although COVID-related ear infections are uncommon, they nonetheless warrant attention. Ear discomfort, tinnitus, and dizziness are all symptoms of this condition, as the ears play an important role in maintaining bodily equilibrium.

People infected with COVID still exhibit the symptoms documented during earlier epidemic waves

The current COVID outbreak has been characterized by widespread high fever and conjunctivitis. Other symptoms, often called “classic signs of the infection,” have also been documented.

Common signs of COVID include high body temperature or chills, a cough, trouble breathing, feeling sluggish or tired, having aches and pains throughout the body, suffering from a headache, experiencing a loss of taste and smell, having a sore throat, having a runny or stuffy nose, or having diarrhea.

Concerns Regarding the Omicron Subvariant XBB.1.16

It’s likely contributing to rising numbers of cases in both India and the United States

According to sources, the current case rise in India is likely to be caused by the Arcturus subvariant. As a result, many jurisdictions across the country have reinstated their mask laws.

It has a solid foothold in India and has expanded to at least 28 other countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and many more.

According to last week’s CDC bulletin, this subvariant is responsible for the second-highest number of cases in the United States, behind only XBB.1.5.

The World Health Organization now considers it a “variant under monitoring” because of the worrying rise in cases worldwide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States have now added it to their list of diseases to keep an eye on.

It is an even more dangerous variation than the last one

Lab research has shown that Arcturus contains a different mutation in its spike protein, which boosts the virus’s infectivity and pathogenicity.

According to studies, XBB.1.16 spreads between 1.17 and 1.27 times faster than the previous major Omicron sub-variant XBB.1.5 (Kraken), responsible for most British infections until February.

However, real-world evidence reveals that despite its greater ease of distribution, it has yet to cause more serious infections. Researchers at the University of Tokyo have called it “robustly resistant” to antibodies and expressed concern that it could “spread worldwide soon.”

A new symptom is included with it

Conjunctivitis is a new symptom that distinguishes this subvariant from its antecedents. Children under 12 are disproportionately represented among Arcturus patients, and symptoms such as “itchy conjunctivitis with sticky eyes” and “itchy red eyes without pus” have been reported. Eye infections caused by COVID-19 are followed by other symptoms like high fever, cold, and cough.

Conjunctivitis has been noted as a symptom of COVID-19, but it has never occurred at such a high rate. The conjunctiva may play a role in these infections by acting as a receptor for the virus. If this is the case, people need to know that the virus can spread through the eyes, for example, when infected fingers rub them. Encouraging people infected with Arcturus to always wear protective eyewear is also important. Further measures to prevent the spread of this variant of COVID include the use of masks, separation from others, and vaccination boosters.


If you don’t want to catch the virus, practice good hygiene. You can avoid contracting the virus by taking precautions, including wearing a mask, routinely washing your hands with soap and water, disinfecting any surfaces that could potentially spread germs, and maintaining clean, well-ventilated indoor air.

People who suspect they have COVID should stay in isolation until all symptoms have subsided. When there are little children and elderly persons at home, extra precautions must be taken.


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