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New COVID-19 Strains Not ‘More Infectious’, Need To Aggressively Monitor Situation: AIIMS Director

“Currently we have vaccines with efficacy of 70 per cent , 80 per cent, 90 per cent so even if there is slight fall in efficacy they will still be effective in preventing the virus from further spreading,” said Dr Randeep Guleria, AIIMS Director

New COVID-19 Strains Not 'More Infectious', Need To Aggressively Monitor Situation: AIIMS

New Delhi: With two new strains of COVID-19, one each from the UK and Brazil, confirmed in a number of states, AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria on Wednesday (February 24) said that vaccines will be able to control the spread of coronavirus and lessen the mortality rate. Dr Guleria also said that there was need to aggressively study the mutations of the COVID-19 virus. “Currently we have vaccines with efficacy of 70 per cent , 80 per cent, 90 per cent so even if there is slight fall in efficacy they will still be effective in preventing the virus from further spreading,” Dr Guleria told in an interview to ANI.

Also Read: Mutants Different From Variants, COVID Appropriate Behaviour Vital To Stop Spread: Scientists

When asked about the new strains of the virus that have been found in several parts of the country he said authorities are closely monitoring the situation.

It doesn’t seem that the strains are more infectious or vaccine will not work but we need to study it more aggressively and look at it more closely. We should not miss out on strains which are more infectious. There are two things. One is the efficacy of the vaccine in preventing serious disease and death. I could say that the vaccine definitely will prevent serious disease and therefore decease mortality as far as new strain is concern. As far efficacy is a concern, one can argue that if you have a strain, the efficiency theoretically may come down a little bit but we do have a good buffer, Dr Guleria said.

The Union Health Ministry on Tuesday revealed that two new strains of the COVID-19 virus – the N440K variant and the E484Q variant have been detected in Maharashtra and Kerala. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that these two newer virus strains are responsible for the surge in cases in some districts in these two states as well as from Telangana, Dr VK Paul, Member (Health) of the NITI Aayog had said during the weekly COVID-19 update yesterday.

We need more data to show how infectious the strain is. Currently, the data we have does not suggest that this is more infectious but I would say more data required. Samples have been taken from all areas where a surge has been seen. After analysis, we will have the data, he said.

Also Read: COVID-19 Outbreak: New Coronavirus Strains In The Country Could Be More Dangerous, Says Dr Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS- Delhi

Dr Guleria said that there is a need to monitor the situation closely as vaccines will be changed in the view of new variants.

As of now, we do not need to worry but we need to monitor the situation closely and look aggressively for all the variants and make sure that none of them is becoming totally new and our vaccine efficacy has fallen. Simultaneously have to keep changing the vaccine also to take into account the new variants that are emerging, he said.

The AIIMS director called for developing a strategy to keep the mortality rate down while lauding the Central government’s decision to allow private centres to vaccinate people against COVID-19.

I think this is a very good step because we have to move forward and vaccinate as many people as we can. We need to develop a strategy where we need to keep our death rate down. Therefore, vaccinating people above the age of 60 or those who are above the age of 45 with comorbidity will be a very good step in this direction, also opening it up for the private sector. We have a huge target to achieve even in a phase one we have to vaccinate at least 30 crore individuals that is something we need to keep in mind, he added.

Also Read: All Above 60 Years Of Age, 45-Plus With Comorbidities Can Get COVID-19 Vaccine From March 1

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

22,70,55,138Cases
18,97,86,461Active
3,25,98,424Recovered
46,70,253Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 22,70,55,138 and 46,70,253 have died; 18,97,86,461 are active cases and 3,25,98,424 have recovered as on September 17, 2021 at 5:36 am.

India

3,33,81,728 34,403Cases
3,39,0563,867Active
3,25,98,424 37,950Recovered
4,44,248 320Deaths
In India, there are 3,33,81,728 confirmed cases including 4,44,248 deaths. The number of active cases is 3,39,056 and 3,25,98,424 have recovered as on September 17, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,11,525 3,595

52,893 310

63,20,310 3,240

1,38,322 45

Kerala

44,46,228 22,182

1,86,754 4,559

42,36,309 26,563

23,165 178

Karnataka

29,65,191 1,108

16,202 282

29,11,434 808

37,555 18

Tamil Nadu

26,40,361 1,693

16,756 120

25,88,334 1,548

35,271 25

Andhra Pradesh

20,34,786 1,367

14,708 105

20,06,034 1,248

14,044 14

Uttar Pradesh

17,09,628 23

193 11

16,86,549 11

22,886 1

West Bengal

15,59,567 707

8,025 25

15,32,922 725

18,620 7

Delhi

14,38,373 28

409 5

14,12,880 22

25,084 1

Odisha

10,18,298 580

5,335 105

10,04,845 681

8,118 4

Chhattisgarh

10,04,988 31

352 2

9,91,077 29

13,559

Rajasthan

9,54,230 4

103 1

9,45,173 5

8,954

Gujarat

8,25,677 22

149 0

8,15,446 22

10,082

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,374 7

119 5

7,81,738 12

10,517

Haryana

7,70,697 9

327 8

7,60,562 17

9,808

Bihar

7,25,864 12

72 6

7,16,134 6

9,658

Telangana

6,62,785 259

5,282 43

6,53,603 301

3,900 1

Punjab

6,01,180 30

314 11

5,84,399 38

16,467 3

Assam

5,97,074 468

5,381 15

5,85,914 479

5,779 4

Jharkhand

3,48,102 6

102 8

3,42,867 14

5,133

Uttarakhand

3,43,330 20

284 12

3,35,657 32

7,389

Jammu And Kashmir

3,27,466 170

1,421 72

3,21,630 98

4,415

Himachal Pradesh

2,16,430 127

1,568 82

2,11,215 206

3,647 3

Goa

1,75,183 95

699 1

1,71,195 96

3,289

Puducherry

1,25,170 107

963 63

1,22,380 42

1,827 2

Manipur

1,17,913 216

2,614 7

1,13,478 219

1,821 4

Tripura

83,787 31

427 26

82,553 56

807 1

Meghalaya

78,958 229

1,804 140

75,784 86

1,370 3

Mizoram

76,591 1,121

13,888 85

62,449 1,202

254 4

Chandigarh

65,168 4

31 2

64,319 2

818

Arunachal Pradesh

53,990 47

536 9

53,183 56

271

Sikkim

30,802 64

775 28

29,648 36

379

Nagaland

30,763 32

505 14

29,610 44

648 2

Ladakh

20,631 6

41 1

20,383 5

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,670

5 0

10,661

4

Lakshadweep

10,353

4 0

10,298

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,595 3

15 2

7,451 1

129

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