At a time when the coronavirus pandemic is on the verge of second wave in five states, including Maharashtra, the responsibility of the administration has increased. Amid the ongoing battle with the existing virus, the new Indian variant that has been detected in these states may be highly transmissible and dangerous, said All India Institute of Medical Sciences Director, Dr Randeep Guleria.
According to the Dr. Guleria the new variant can even cause re-infections in people who have developed anti-bodies to the virus.
Dr Guelria stated that herd immunity for coronavirus is a “myth” in the country because at least 80 percent people need to have antibodies for the whole of the population to be protected.
The sudden surge in COVID-19 cases so far has been witnessed in 5 states. It is worth mentioning here that the COVID-19 vaccination has already begun and is currently undergoing the second phase.
Apart from Maharashtra four other states that are affected by the new variants are Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Punjab. Even these states are witnessing a spike in coronavirus numbers over the past week.
Taking cognisance of the situation, the Centre plans to immunise 3 crore health workers and frontline workers. And after that, it will be the turn of 27 crore people who are above the age of 50 years or have co-morbidities.
While informing about the new variant in detail, Dr Guleria said mutations or variants in the virus have immune escape mechanism. They can threaten the immunity achieved by a person through vaccinations or the disease and cause reinfection, he added.
As per the information at present over 240 new strains of the virus have surfaced across India, which may be the reason behind the fresh surge of infections in these states.
Meanwhile, new vaccinations are being developed in India. At present, 19 vaccines in India are said to be effective against the new strain, Dr Guleria said the vaccines will be effective, but their efficacy might be less.
He also said that the distribution of coronavirus vaccine should be decentralized. “There are some issues with the CoWin app which is slowing down the vaccination procedure. If the state gets more powers, it will be helpful to cover more and more people, he said.