This Article is From Apr 21, 2023

Thailand Reports World's First Death From New Covid Variant Arcturus

Dr. Supakit Sirilak, director-general of the medical sciences department in Thailand, claims that an old man there died of the Arcturus form.

Thailand Reports World's First Death From New Covid Variant Arcturus

The first Arcturus fatality recorded in Thailand. (Representative Image)

The COVID-19's new variant, Arcturus, has triggered alarm around the world as it claimed its first victim, Thailand's health officials have announced.

According to The Independent, the first death from the Arcturus strain, thought to be around 1.2 times more infectious than the last major sub-variant, was recorded in Thailand yesterday, amid a surge in cases across the globe.

"A total of 27 cases of XBB.1.16 had been detected in Thailand as of April 17, and one of these had died," Thai PBS World quoted Dr. Sirilak as saying.

"The dead person was an elderly foreigner with underlying health conditions. His death, therefore, may not directly reflect the severity of this subvariant but rather its impact on other risk factors," Supakit said.

Health officials have issued a warning regarding XBB.1.16 and urged the general public to exercise caution.

Arcturus or XBB.1.16 variant: Is it more dangerous?

Arcturus was first detected in January. It is an Omicron sub-variant that can spread easily. The World Health Organisation has stated that the XB.1.16 variant is similar to the XBB.1.5 variant but has an additional mutation. Therefore, it can spread quickly but may not lead to anything severe.

In India, Arcturus has replaced other variants, as per a WHO report. It is spreading quickly in the country, but the rate of hospitalisation remains low. The variant leads to mild symptoms, and no severe complications have been noticed so far.

What are the symptoms of Arcturus or the XBB.1.16 variant?

Some of the common symptoms observed so far include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal issues
  • Cough

Recently, a new symptom has been added to the list that is being reported in children specifically. Experts have highlighted that many patients have itchy eyes, conjunctivitis, and pink eye (without pus). These eye-related symptoms were not seen in the previous waves.