KEY POINTS

  • The Delta variant may be causing severe blood clots leading to gangrene in patients
  • The B.1.617.2 variant has spread to over 60 countries over the past six months
  • A study showed the B.1.617.2 variant to be 50% more contagious than other variants

The Delta coronavirus variant, first detected in India, could cause more severe symptoms than other COVID-19 variants, doctors said. 

In India, doctors recorded symptoms such as hearing impairment, severe gastric upset, and severe blood clots leading to gangrene among people who tested positive for COVID-19, Dr. Ganesh Manudhane, a Mumbai cardiologist, told Bloomberg. These symptoms have been linked by doctors to the Delta variant, also known as B.1.617.2, the report said.

During the past two months, Manudhane treated eight patients suffering from blood clots, two of whom required amputations of fingers or feet. “I saw three-to-four cases the whole of last year, and now it’s one patient a week,” the cardiologist said.   

Some patients also reported experiencing stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, hearing loss, and joint pain — symptoms not commonly associated with COVID-19. 

“We need more scientific research to analyze if these newer clinical presentations are linked to B.1.617 or not,” Adbul Ghafur, an infectious disease physician at the Apollo Hospital in Chennai, said. “This virus has become so, so unpredictable.”

The Delta variant led to the devastating second COVID-19 wave in India, which has reported more than 18.6 million infections in 2021. So far, the country has reported more than 28,909,900 virus infections and over 349,100 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

A recent study by the Indian SARS-COV-2 Genomic Consortia (INSACOG) and National Center For Disease Control (NCDC) suggested that the Delta variant is 50% more infectious than the Alpha strain, first detected in the United Kingdom. 

The B.1.617.2 variant has spread to more than 60 countries over the past six months, including China where authorities are now carrying out mass testing and imposing new lockdowns to curb the spread of the virus. 

Guangzhou, a province in southern China, reported 96 new cases of COVID-19 caused by the Delta variant. Health officials say a 75-year-old woman in the Liwan district was the first confirmed case of the B.1.617.2 variant. The woman later visited her husband at a restaurant and infected him with COVID-19. The infections spread out from there. 

Liwan authorities have now imposed a strict lockdown. In certain areas, residents are not allowed to leave a specific zone. In some streets, residents are also banned from leaving their buildings. 

Authorities have also set up 24-hour checkpoints to monitor the movements of people in and out of the areas. 

Coronavirus restrictions have also been eased in India's Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital Coronavirus restrictions have also been eased in India's Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital Photo: AFP / Indranil MUKHERJEE