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No need to panic, study on vaccine against COVID Delta plus variant is underway, says ICMR epidemiology head
New Delhi, June 26, 2021 (ANI): A study on the effectiveness of the existing COVID-19 vaccine against the Delta Plus variant, which has been notified as a "variant of concern" following its detection in several parts of India, is underway, said Dr Samiran Panda, Head of Epidemiology, ICMR on Saturday.
Amid concerns over COVID-19 third wave, the epidemiologist said the third wave will not be as severe as the second wave, which had ravaged the country in April-May and stretched healthcare infrastructure.
Suggesting that there is no need to panic, he asserted on the need for scaling up vaccination drive and COVID appropriate behaviour to mitigate many such future waves of the pandemic.
"The third wave of COVID-19 won't be as severe as the second wave. More vaccination and COVID-19 appropriate behaviour could play an important role in mitigating these waves. A study on vaccine effectiveness on Delta Plus variant of COVID-19 is underway," Panda told ANI here.
"So far, only 49 cases of Delta Plus variant have been reported from 10 states. This doesn't indicate that the third wave of COVID-19 has begun and calling it the onset of the third wave would be misleading," he added.
The third wave of the COVID-19 may not be as severe as the second wave, and scaling up the vaccination drive may help mitigate it, said a study conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research in collaboration with Imperial College of London.
The authors of the study include Balram Bhargava, Director General, ICMR, and Samiran Panda, Head, Infectious Disease Unit, ICMR. The study, based on mathematical modelling analysis, showed that the new variant is unlikely to cause a new wave unless it leads to a complete loss of immune protection from the previous infection.
A more transmissible variant would have to cross the reproduction number threshold of 4.5 to cause a third wave, said the study. (ANI)