'Covid 3rd wave can be bigger than second if...': What AIIMS director Randeep Guleria said

Published on Jul 16, 2021 10:48 AM IST
The possibility of the third wave becoming stronger or weaker than the second wave depends on three factors, Dr Randeep Guleria said. The global situation of the 3rd wave shows vaccines are effective, he said.
Dr Randeep Guleria said vaccine can be tweaked if new variants of SARS-COV-2 emerge.
Dr Randeep Guleria said vaccine can be tweaked if new variants of SARS-COV-2 emerge.
By | Written by Poulomi Ghosh

Amid apprehension of a third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in India, regarding which several mathematical predictions, projections are going around, AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria has said that there might be many scenarios of the possible third wave if it comes. If all restrictions are lifted and a variant is able to escape immunity, then the next wave can be bigger than the second wave, Dr Guleria said, citing one possibility as projected by an IIT mathematical model.

If there is a balance between restrictions and reopening, with some restriction remaining in place, the impact will not be as huge as it was during the second wave, provided the virus also remains stable, Dr Guleria said.

"One such model from an IIT shows that if all restrictions are lifted and if a virus (variant) is also able to escape immunity then the next wave can be bigger than the second wave. If some restrictions are kept and the virus also remains stable then cases will not be much and if we keep more restrictions then cases will further reduce," he said.

Explaining what may strengthen the third wave, Dr Guleria listed three factors including waning immunity, the emergence of a more transmissible variant, and lockdown relaxations as the possible reasons. In the case of waning immunity, individuals who have been exposed to the virus before again come to the susceptible state if they remain unvaccinated, once the natural immunity subsides.

'Vaccines can be tweaked'

Dr Guleria said that as evident for the third wave in other countries, vaccines are working, as the rate of hospitalisation has come down. He also said that available vaccines can be tweaked after detailed studies, if new variants emerge.

Covid 3rd wave in India

The overall Covid-19 situation in India is improving steadily with daily news infections falling, but a spike is being observed in pockets -- like in the northeastern states and in Kerala. Maharashtra's Covid-19 graph has hit a plateau. The jury is still out on whether these are the early signs of a third wave, while the government has been repeatedly cautioning people against crowding.

(With PTI inputs)

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