The government on Wednesday said that a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic was ‘inevitable’, although a time-frame for it could not be predicted.
K Vijay Raghavan, the principal scientific advisor to the Centre, said the third phase was inevitable but it was not clear on what time-scale this phase will occur. The virus was getting better at transmission and more variants would emerge so vaccines updates too were inevitable, he added.
In a press briefing by the ministry of health affairs, officials said the long Covid wave of such ‘ferocity’ that the country was experiencing currently ‘was not predicted’.
Lower immunity and less caution opened up access to the virus and infected a large section of the population in the second wave, Raghavan said. Going forward new variants would emerge in India and the B1.1.7 mutant was a surprise but so far it had not displayed any antibody evasion or vaccine evasion or eroded immunity, he added.
However, initial data has shown that the B.1.1.7 lineage of Sars COV2 was declining in the country. All the three vaccines approved so far in the country — Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik — were effective in dealing with the variants, he said. The country was also much better prepared to track these changes in the virus. The variants would be of concern only if it correlated to the clinical data and had the possibility of impacting public health.
Member of Niti Aayog, VK Paul, requested ‘physicians’ fraternity’ to come forward and provide teleconsultationsac to people and families at home who are infected with coronavirus.
States have been advised to keep strict surveillance in the districts reporting new variants of concern and take up stringent measures, including contact tracing and genome sequencing of positive samples of person having history of international travel.
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