'Let's be careful for 6 more months': WHO chief scientist says variant worse than Delta possible
Chief scientist of the World Health Organization Dr Soumya Swaminathan on Friday warned that if the SARS-CoV-2 virus continues mutating, then a new variant that could be worse than Delta can emerge. Amid the speculations of a third wave of the pandemic which, according to many scientific projections, has already begun in the country, Dr Swaminathan dismissed fears that the third wave will be impacting the children most and said it is not yet time to let down the guard.
Speaking to news agency ANI in Chennai, Dr Swaminathan said 65 per cent of children and adults have developed antibodies, according to the ICMR serosurvey. This data proves that children have also been mildly affected by Covid, though their infections might have been mild. So the assumption that children will get affected the most in the third wave as they have not been affected in the first two waves has no scientific backing as it is wrong to assume that children were not affected in the first two waves. "We should not be too worried about a third wave affecting children. There is no scientific evidence," Dr Swaminathan said.
"I know everybody is tired, everyone wants to meet their family, organise parties. But this is not the time to let down your guard. Let's be careful for another six months," the WHO chief scientist said.
The six month period is not for the virus to disappear, but for vaccine coverage to increase, she explained.
Covid 3rd wave and new variant
India is standing between the peak of the second wave and a possible third wave, the peak of which may come in October. This is what maximum scientific studies have predicted. However, it has been said that the possibility of the third wave depends on several factors, including variant, Covid appropriate behaviour, vaccine coverage etc. Virologist Gagandeep Kang on Thursday said as long as the virus is getting a chance to replicate, the chances of emerging a more virulent strain than Delta remain there. Hence, transmission has to be stopped to stop the virus from replicating, Dr Kang said.
(With ANI inputs)