Omicron will be in big cities but with mild symptoms: former head of the CSIR institute
Speaking exclusively to ANI, director of the Tata Institute for Genetics and Society and former head of the Council of the Scientific and Industrial Research Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Dr Rakesh Mishra said of the ‘Efficacy of Hybrid Immunity:’ The results indicate that hybrid immunity will be effective against the new variant. Scientific validation of these things is ongoing. People are doing experiments to make pseudoviruses and these things in labs and tests. So I think it will take about 10 days, two weeks. But my feeling is that it should be protective, maybe a little less, but the vaccine will certainly help a lot. ”
Three types of immunity against the virus are natural immunity from infection, vaccine immunity from vaccines, and hybrid immunity, in which a person who has already been infected is also vaccinated.
Dr Mishra further explained the effect of hybrid immunity on the vaccinated population and said that it is likely to protect people with the Indian vaccines given.
“I think it will happen if people have natural infections plus vaccination. At least in the big cities, maybe more people have had the infection knowingly or unknowingly because they are asymptomatic. A significant number will have hybrid immunity. Although the hybrid immunity study relates to the vaccine mRNA vaccine, but there is no reason to believe that the vaccine we had Covishield and Covaxin did will not have the same hybrid immunity benefit on infected people, ”he said.
Asked about the reporting of Omicron cases in India as a “wake-up call” for the country, Dr Mishra said it was important that the pandemic was not over and that it was necessary to take all precautions, despite the country standing. a strong position against the virus with a number of vaccinations after the second wave that hit India in April 2021.
“It is a wake-up call to be aware that the pandemic is not over yet. And that we are in a strong position with such high HIV status and vaccination in place, and our health system much more activated. than it was in the first wave or second wave, so we are in a very good position, but, but we must not waste our advantage by being careless and getting in trouble, ”he said .
“It is the responsibility of the people and people should cooperate with the government and get vaccinated and the government should continue to investigate mainly to understand the spread and if there are any new variants emerging or if the same variant is in some way. places, it will be more contagious. So therefore, you can put some control, but there is no way to prevent a variant from spreading from one country to another. It has already spread ”, he added.
Speaking of Omicron’s traceable symptom, the expert said most people can be asymptomatic or have less severe symptoms and therefore mistake Omicron for a normal cold.
“We’ve detected two and a few more and all over the last few days, but how many are we tracking?” If we sequence 100% then you can be sure how many people have this or not. Since we can’t sequence everything, we can’t even list all the people that many people believe are asymptomatic and are spreading. So it is the problem with this infection that most people 70 to 80 percent will have no symptoms when it spreads and merges with the common cold. Symptoms are less People will therefore mistake it for a cold as there is no loss of smell or oxygen problem. The infection will be present in every major city that people have traveled to and now, since if the person has no contact with someone with a travel history, it means it’s community spread, “he said. he declared to the ANI.
Dr Mishra further said that Omicron could be more contagious than the Delta variant which caused the second wave in India earlier this year. However, he believed that the virus being less symptomatic is a good sign.
“It’s more contagious than the delta. So it has to happen. But we don’t have to worry about these things. It’s good that it’s less symptomatic. And we’re in a good position to say that I do think so. that India is perhaps the strongest position without HIV or in fact the vaccination is in very good shape. Most people get vaccinated. We should hurry up and get most people vaccinated. But people should also get vaccinated. cooperate and wear masks so that the virus can be more contained. When we are in a strong position, we should not lose this measure. Be stronger by wearing masks and getting vaccinated, “he said .
When asked about the measures needed to prevent the spread of Omicron, he suggested wearing masks, washing your hands regularly and getting vaccinated as the “most important” ways to stop the spread of the virus.
“There is no new step to take, but the same steps: wear masks, avoid interacting in an enclosed space, get vaccinated. Children will soon start to be vaccinated. And the responsibility of the government is to continue testing and investigating as much as possible, ”he said. noted.
“If a sudden increase occurs, we can cordon off that area, restrict that part of the city so that we can operate on a regular basis, not nationally in this case, because the situation is different in different places. And if we do that. , see, I don’t foresee a big, major problem or giving up on that stuff. But what we need to do is keep the people functional, keep the economy running, keep the schools open. All of these things will only happen if we cooperate in terms of blocking the spread for which the most important thing is the masks. Rest is hand washing, avoiding clustering enclosed spaces. If you don’t, it means that you are helping the virus, ”he added.
Meanwhile, a total of four cases of Omicron have been reported in India so far: one from Gujarat, Maharashtra each and two from Karnataka. The first cases of Omicron were reported in Karnataka. A new variant of COVID-19 was first reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) by South Africa on November 25.
Dr Anurag Agrawal, director of the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, New Delhi, said a possible third pandemic wave triggered by Omicron, the new variant of COVID-19, can be avoided if the necessary precautions are taken .
Earlier on Friday, Dr Angelique Coetzee, who chairs the South African Medical Association and who first reported the new COVID variant, stressed that the vaccines will protect people from the disease at this stage because, regardless of the group of Age and co-morbidities, she saw that people who were inoculated with COVID-19 showed milder symptoms after being infected with Omicron.
According to the WHO, the first known confirmed infection with B.1.1.529 came from a sample taken on November 9 of this year.
On November 26, WHO named the new variant of COVID-19 B.1.1.529, which has been detected in South Africa, “Omicron”. WHO has classified Omicron as a “variant of concern”.