Doctors from the Matei Balş Institute have confirmed the first cases of infection with the Kraken strain, considered the most aggressive and contagious subvariant of Omicron. One of the Romanian infected with the new Covid-19 strain is a baby, who developed a mild form of the infection.
“It is about a new COVID mutation. We know that coronaviruses have a very high genetic variability and we have seen with our own eyes that in these three years strains have appeared that have conquered the entire range of pathology and then disappeared. So, the fact that yet another new strain appears, we are not surprised.From the data we have in the international literature, this new strain only differs from a genetic point of view. In terms of clinical manifestations, it is practically similar to all other Omicron strains. They are mild forms,” said Cătălin Apostolescu, manager of the Matei Balș Institute of Infectious Diseases.
What is Kraken?
Concern about the Kraken is high given its rapid and efficient spread, but it does not appear to cause particularly serious disease. Kraken is the name given to a worrisome new sub-variant of the Omicron strain of COVID-19.
“It is increasing in the US and Europe and has now been identified in more than 25 countries,” said World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday, January 4.
The rapidly increasing cases of XBB.1.5 in the United States and other countries is an urgent concern, and WHO is preparing a new update in the coming days. A primary concern is the speed at which it spreads compared to other subvariants.
The new variant has the official name of XBB.1.5 and is the result of the combination of two variant fragments – what is called a “recombinant subvariant”. “Two different sequences of BA.2 Omicron have joined together to create this new variant,” explains Sheena Cruickshank, researcher at the Lydia Becker Institute of Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases at the University of Manchester. “It is actually a descendant of XBB and XBB.1. It’s like a grandchild of XBB, which is also a sub-variant produced by two versions of BA.2,” she added.
Flurona makes the first victim in Romania
Romania is also facing two medical crises simultaneously – flu and coronavirus, the so-called flurona. There are patients who have been confirmed positive for both diseases. A first victim was confirmed today.
A 74-year-old woman, diagnosed with Flurona – flu co-infection – COVID-19 – died at the Hospital for Infectious Diseases in Iași, announced the manager of the hospital, doctor Florin Roșu. Dr. Florin Roșu stated that the woman also suffered from other serious ailments. It is the first death caused by Flurona announced by a hospital in Romania.
The woman had been admitted in hospital since November 29.
“Flurona” is the term used in early 2022 by specialists to describe the first case of simultaneous infection with seasonal flu and COVID-19. Flurona is not a new variant of the virus, but only a term to describe the condition of the patient diagnosed with double infection.
“We have patients presenting all possible combinations of viruses – Covid with influenza, Covid with adenovirus, Covid with Respiratory Syncytial Virus. It is not a big surprise from this point of view. There have not been any cases so severe as to put in danger to patients’ lives. Medically, there is nothing spectacular, the patient receives antivirals for each individual situation,” said Cătălin Apostolescu, the manager of the “Matei Balș” Institute of Infectious Diseases in Bucharest.
Difference between cold and flu
Common colds are caused by rhinoviruses and coronaviruses (other than SARS-CoV-2), while influenza A and B viruses are what cause seasonal flu. Certain people have risk factors for these infections, which can change the course of the disease. It is about older patients with associated diseases, asthmatics, immunosuppressed people or oncological patients.
The difference between a cold and the flu is that the latter sets in suddenly as a symptom, compared to the common cold which starts gradually, 1-3 days after contact with a sick person. Muscle aches, chills, watery eyes, dry cough, sore throat and nasal congestion occur. Vomiting may also occur. It is associated with a high fever, over 38 degrees Celsius.
The onset of the COVID-19 infection is as sudden as the seasonal flu and has an extremely rapid evolution. Symptoms of COVID-19 include: temperature, dry cough, sore throat and chills. Diarrhea and vomiting may also occur in some patients. Difficulty breathing comes on suddenly, along with possible chest pains, as the lungs are affected.
In the first 48 hours after the onset of flu symptoms, it is recommended to carry out a flu test or rapid Covid test which involves a nasal exudate and can be carried out at home.