No new Covid-19 variants, third wave threat wanes | Bengaluru News – Times of India


BENGALURU: With no sign of another wave of Covid infections yet — based on the interval between the first and second waves some virologists and doctors had suggested that a third wave would strike in October-November — health experts suggest that the pandemic appears to be fizzling out.
They say genomic sequencing and other studies conducted till mid-October show there is no sign of the virus mutating nor has a new variant emerged. And while infections and even breakthrough infections might occur, they are most likely to be mild and the cases few and far between.
However, both the government and experts have urged citizens to ensure Covid-appropriate behaviour till February next year when the entire target population is expected to be fully vaccinated.
“Genomic sequencing is being done meticulously and 10% of positive samples are subjected to study daily,” said Randeep D, health commissioner. “What is heartening is that there is no evidence to prove the emergence of a new variant of the novel coronavirus. Many experts are even ruling out a new outbreak of the pandemic.”
Dr V Ravi, nodal officer for genomic sequencing of SARS-CoV-2, said studies show that infections are limited to the Delta lineage of the coronavirus and they are waning. “It has lost virulence due to wide vaccination coverage and the chances of a mutation that can lead to new variants look remote,” he said.
He said new variants such as Mu and C.1.2 limited to South America and South Africa are unlikely to appear in India. “Even if there is a new variant, it is unlikely to be as deadly as Delta and Delta Plus which caused the second wave as the protection offered by the vaccine has been proven,” Dr Ravi said.
Randeep said: “However, we still need to be on guard and Covid-appropriate behavior should be strictly followed until we achieve 100% second dose vaccine coverage and we are convinced that the pandemic has completely dissipated.”
So far, about 80% of the estimated five crore target population in Karnataka has received the first dose of the vaccine and 30% has been fully vaccinated (second dose too). This is higher than the national average of 70% first-dose coverage (95 crore target population) and 30% second dose.
“While the ground situation looks good with fresh cases falling to the lowest since June last year, the acceleration of the vaccination drive will ensure there is no new wave,” said Dr MK Sudarshan, chairman, state Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee.
P Ravikumar, chief secretary, said vaccine supply is not a problem as the state has a stock of 50 lakh doses and 100% achievement of the second dose is expected by February.
“The second wave appears to have ended, and people should help us avoid a wave by being responsible and following protocol until vaccination targets are achieved,” he said.
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Meanwhile, a serosurvey conducted in August shows antibodies have developed in 80% of people in Bengaluru and 65% across Karnataka. This is against the national average of 67.4%. “These studies show that more than 80% of people have been infected or developed antibodies through vaccination,” said eminent epidemiologist T Jacob John, who reiterated that the disease is now endemic. “So, a third wave is unlikely. The government should focus on vaccinating children who are not immune to infection.”





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Sagar Biswas

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