Doctors in India fear that the dangerous new COVID-19 variant in the country is linked to a host of troubling new symptoms – including gangrene from blood clots, hearing impairment and severe gastric upsets.
Six doctors treating patients across India have all told Bloomberg News they have experienced a wide variety of conditions, including stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, hearing loss and joint pain in patients with the so-called Delta variant, or B1.617.2.
Dr. Ganesh Manudhane, a Mumbai cardiologist who has treated eight patients at the Seven Hills Hospital, said some of his patients have developed micro thrombi — or small blood clots.
The clots have even been so severe in some cases that they led affected tissue to die and develop gangrene, he told the outlet.
Two required amputations of fingers or a foot, according to the report.
“I saw three-to-four cases the whole of last year, and now it’s one patient a week,” Manudhane said, adding that he is baffled by the blood clots he’s seeing in patients with no past history of coagulation-related problems.
“We suspect it could be because of the new virus variant,” he said.
Dr. Abdul Ghafur, an infectious disease physician at the Apollo Hospital in the southern India city of Chennai, told Bloomberg that he treated more COVID-19 patients with diarrhea than during the initial wave of the pandemic.
“Last year, we thought we had learned about our new enemy, but it changed. This virus has become so, so unpredictable,” Ghafur said.
However, the doctor also said more research needs to be done.
“We need more scientific research to analyze if these newer clinical presentations are linked to B.1.617 or not,” he told the outlet.
Meanwhile, some patients also are seeking medical care for swelling around the neck and severe tonsillitis, said Dr. Hetal Marfatia, an ear nose and throat surgeon at Mumbai’s King Edward Memorial Hospital.
“Every person is showing different symptoms” in the second wave, she said.
The disturbing report comes after Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Tuesday that the Delta mutation could become the most dominant strain in the US.
It has already spread to more than 60 countries.
Early evidence in England and Scotland suggests that the strain carries a higher risk of hospitalization, according to Bloomberg News.
However, studies of other strains — the beta and gamma variants which were first detected in South Africa and Brazil — have shown little or no evidence of causing unusual clinical signs, Bloomberg reported, citing a recent study by researchers from the University of New South Wales.