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Gangrene and hearing loss: the dangers of the new COVID-19 strain

A highly contagious variant of the Delta coronavirus causes gangrene and hearing loss in people, Indian doctors have warned. Doctors say that some patients even had to have their limbs amputated because of the gangrene associated with COVID-19.

Indian doctors claim that the new version of the coronavirus causes gangrene and hearing loss in people, which was not the case in older strains of COVID-19. As the Daily Mail recalls, a new variant of the virus, known as B1617.2 (or — according to the new WHO classification — Delta), hit India this spring, infecting millions of people and overflowing hospitals.

Scientists say this variant of the coronavirus appears to be the most contagious found to date. Moreover, doctors suggest that it may also be more dangerous.

As reported by Bloomberg, in addition to the typical symptoms of COVID-19, some specialists in India note an increase in the number of patients admitted with deafness or gangrene caused by blood clots.

Health chiefs in the UK have already warned that there appears to be a higher risk of ending up in hospital with the Indian variant than with the previously dominant Kent strain. But British doctors have not reported gangrene or hearing loss in patients, despite tens of thousands of cases of infection with this variant.

This suggests that such symptoms may be extremely rare and only found in India so far because millions of people there have become infected in a short period of time, or that such manifestations occurred accidentally in people who had COVID but were not actually caused by this variant of Delta.

Concerns about how quickly the new variant is spreading, and the possibility that it makes vaccines less effective, are putting pressure on Boris Johnson to delay his announced June 21 exit from lockdown, with scientific advisers urging him to push it back to buy time for the introduction of vaccination.

It is suggested that the appearance of new symptoms of the pandemic more than a year later showed how unpredictable the coronavirus turned out to be. Dr. Abdul Ghafoor, an infectious disease expert at the Apollo Hospital in Chennai, told Bloomberg:” We need more scientific research to analyze whether these new clinical manifestations are associated with B. 1. 617 or not.”

As noted by the Daily Mail, there were no obvious signs that the Brazilian or South African variants, the first coronavirus mutations that worried scientists, cause symptoms different from other strains. But now, a number of doctors are reportedly seeing unusual problems in people who have been diagnosed with the virus. In addition to the typical symptoms, such as loss of appetite, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and joint pain, some also developed gangrene or hearing loss.

As the Daily Mail explains, gangrene is a condition in which living tissue dies and begins to rot while still on the body, due to a lack of oxygen, usually caused by a blockage in the blood supply. The coronavirus is known to cause blood clots in many people who become seriously ill with it, and blood clots can easily get stuck in small blood vessels and cut off blood supply, leading to gangrene if not treated properly.

“I've seen three to four cases like this in the past year, and now it's a patient a week,” Dr. Ganesh Manudhane, a Mumbai — based doctor, was quoted as saying. It is reported that in the last two months, he has treated eight patients, and two of them even had to have amputations — one removed a finger, and the other afoot. The doctor added: “We suspect that this may have been due to a new variant of the virus.”

Hearing loss is also quite often caused by viral infections in general. Viruses are one of the main causes of sudden hearing loss in people born with normal hearing. Possible causes include measles, mumps, and some types of herpes, and irreversible damage can be caused by viruses affecting the inner ear cochlea. It's not always clear how this happens, but swelling caused by an immune response can damage the sensitive inner ear or the tiny hairs needed for hearing.

Many doctors and scientists have called for a longer list of symptoms that would allow people to get tested for COVID. For example, in the UK, only people with a cough, fever, or loss of taste or smell are currently classified as having symptoms of the coronavirus, although research and National Health Service reports have shown that the true range of COVID-19 manifestations is much wider. But the more symptoms included in the list, the more likely it is that people will believe that they have COVID-19, when in reality they do not have it. It is believed that the three selected symptoms provide the best balance between identifying a significant proportion of people who actually have coronavirus, and at the same time not affecting a large number of people suffering from other common diseases.

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