Does Delta Plus variant adversely affect vaccine efficacy? Here's what govt says
Delta Plus variant of the coronavirus, which has been reported from at least 11 states and a Union territory in the country, is yet to be studied and there is no scientific data so far to establish that the new strain reduces the efficacy of vaccines, Covid Task Force chief VK Paul has said.
"The so-called Delta Plus variant exhibits an additional mutation in the Delta variant and since this is a new variant, scientific knowledge is still in the early stage," VK Paul said in an interview to PTI on Monday. "Whether this additional mutation in the Delta variant is associated with increased transmissibility or excess severity of disease, or any adverse effect on vaccine efficacy is currently not established and we should wait for this information to emerge," he said and added, "We should wait for these aspects to be studied systematically".
Delta Plus, the new variant of the coronavirus, was identified on June 11 and was recently classified as a variant of concern by the Centre.
Paul said, based on the scientific evaluation by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Serum Institute of India's Covishield and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin are both effective against the coronavirus, including the Delta variant, which is presently the predominant variant in the country.
The Covid Task Force chief said it will be unfair to put a date for any wave of the pandemic as the behaviour of coronavirus is unpredictable and a disciplined and effective pandemic response can help the country get away from any significant outbreak. "Occurrence or non-occurrence of any wave is in our own hands. To my mind, it is not fair to put any date for any wave," he said.
The senior official also said that another wave of any size would be dependent upon several factors, including overall discipline in terms of Covid-appropriate behaviour, testing and containment strategies and vaccination rates. The unpredictable behaviour of the virus can also change the pandemic dynamics, he pointed and said that their complex factor can also determine the chain of transmission and outbreak. "If we are determined and disciplined and marshal effective pandemic response, we should be in a position to get away from any significant outbreak," Paul said.
India's daily cases of Covid-19 have been dipping and have been around the 50,000 mark for over a week now. On Tuesday, the country recorded another drop in its daily Covid-19 tally with 37,566 new cases, the Union ministry of health and family welfare said.