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Active Covid cases likely to drop in India by March end: Govt expert panel


Mangalore Today News Network

New Delhi, Feb 23, 2021:      Active coronavirus cases in India are likely to drop to the “low tens of thousands” by the end of March 2021, according to projections mentioned in an article written by members of a government expert panel.

 

Covid-India


The article that predicts a sharp drop in active Covid-19 cases in India has been written by experts who are part of the National Supermodel Committee, set up by the Department of Science and Technology.

Authors Rajeeva L. Karandikar, Chennai Mathematical Institute, Dr Shekhar C. Mande, CSIR Headquarters and Professor M. Vidyasagar, IIT Hyderabad have written an article, titled ‘The Case for Rapid Vaccination of India -- and the Rest of the World’.

“According to both serological surveys as well as model predictions, a substantial fraction of India’s population currently has immunity against the virus, coupled perhaps with some natural form of immunity,” said the article.

Vaccine offers stronger immune response

The experts wrote in the article that the most reliable long-term protection against Covid-19 can be provided through vaccination.

“The most reliable longer-term protection is, however, provided through vaccination. It has been suggested recently that vaccination offers much stronger immune response than natural infection, and therefore is the key to controlling the spread of the disease,” the article stated.

“While this issue has not yet been settled decisively, some medical researchers are of the opinion that the presence of antibodies (caused by a previous infection) offers less protection against reinfection from a mutation of the virus, compared to vaccination. Hence, it is imperative that the nationwide vaccination program be completed as early as possible with the approved vaccines,” it added.

Only end of phase 1 of Covid pandemic in India

The article indicates that India has only seen the end of the first phase of the fight against the novel coronavirus, adding that it is crucial to ensure that cases do not start rising again. It may be noted that a fresh Covid-19 surge has been observed in some parts of the country

“Publicly available data on the progression of the Covid-19 pandemic, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, indicates that the number of infections in India peaked sometime in September 2020, and has been consistently declining ever since,” the article stated.

“From a maximum of 97,655 daily new cases on September 11, 2020, the daily new case count is 11,924 by the first week in February 2021, with half of it from Kerala. All this connotes only the end of the first phase of our fight against the virus,” the researchers wrote.

“It is crucial to ensure that the number of cases does not start increasing again, as it has in many countries such as Italy, the UK, and the USA.”

Vaccine efficacy

The experts also spoke about vaccine efficacy in their article. They said, “Even at 40 per cent efficacy, a vaccine affords some protection, and even at 80 per cent efficacy, some vaccine recipients would still be left unprotected. Therefore, we trust the regulatory authorities to take an informed decision, and not be bound by this arbitrary guideline.”

SARS-COV-2 variants

In the article, the authors also discussed the various Covid-19 variants currently in circulation. “While there have been thousands of mutations observed in the SARS-CoV-2 virus to date, the so-called UK variant is the first one to have demonstrated increased transmissibility, and perhaps, greater lethality after infection,” the experts stated.

“In this connection, it is heartening that a preprint deposited in Biorxiv suggests that Covaxin is effective against the UK variant,” they added.

“A comparable neutralization activity of sera of the vaccinated individuals shown against UK-variant and the heterologous strain with similar efficiency, dispel the uncertainty of possible neutralization escape.”

India’s vaccine diplomacy

The authors also pointed out that India is well-poised to not only fulfil its own vaccine requirements but also cater to the needs of various countries around the globe.

The experts also said that India’s “vaccine diplomacy” of being the supplier of choice for the world’s vaccine demands is well-placed and offers hope for the global community.


Courtesy:India Today


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