Here’s What We Know About New COVID-19 Variant: Arcturus

Is COVID-19 making a comeback with this new variant? Here’s what we know about COVID-19 Arcturus.

COVID-19 mutates again and creates a new variant known as COVID-19 XB 1.16 or “Arcturus” for short. While some call it a sub-variant of COVID-19 Omicron, what we are sure of is that this new variant of COVID-19 may be why the Philippines is having a surge of cases again. The Department of Health (DOH) first detected a case of COVID-19 with the Arcturus strain in Western Visayas, causing the reported lockdowns in the provinces.

While we’re still looking into and updating this page, here’s what we do know about Arcturus.

Where did this new strain come from?

Currently, studies and organizations are saying that the new COVID-19 variant came from India — fueling the sudden surge of cases there. It then spread to Indonesia before infecting someone in Western Visayas, according to the Department of Health’s report last April 25, 2023. The variant also made its way to the United States, contributing to at most, 10% of the COVID-19 cases there.

But because Arcturus was considered a sub-variant of the COVID-19 Omicron, it may have inherited what the World Health Organization (WHO) says are the “wide number of mutations.” Meaning, it can change and shift its combinations faster than any of the other variants like Delta, Alpha, etc.

Is the new COVID-19 variant deadly?

However, the World Health Organization (WHO) had already flagged the Arcturus variant as one of interest last week. According to the former, there are no reports of severe cases yet. But it appears to be more infectious as it “grows quickly” and is more capable of “evading the immune system.”

New symptom under the new variant of COVID-19: pink eye/ conjunctivitis
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

There have been some cases where people have been sent to the hospital but it hasn’t killed anyone yet. However, the new COVID-19 variant is known to have a new symptom alongside the usual COVID-19 symptoms: conjunctivitis or what we know as “pink eye” or “sore eyes.”

Will the vaccines protect us from Arcturus?

Like vaccines always have, they will reduce the severity of COVID-19. Although that means it’s still possible to get it, it makes the disease easier to deal with. Without the vaccine, those infected can get the full blow: fever, chills, loss of taste and smell, convulsions, and pneumonia, among many others.

But, we were just opening up!

We wish that the fight against COVID-19 ends, but the disease is already endemic. It’s here to stay but, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing we can do about it. So long as we keep the habit of wearing our masks, staying clean, and making sure we keep up our vitamins and health, we should be able to withstand most of the symptoms.

More about COVID-19:

Omicron XE: What Do We Need To Know About It
COVID-19 Omicron Variant: Is it the ENDemic?
Jessy Mendiola’s Latest Vlog Reminds Us That COVID-19 is Still Here

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