The spike in covid cases in India can be attributed to the emergence of the new XBB. 1. 16 variant, said Rajesh Gokhale, secretary of the department of biotechnology and chief of India’s SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium.
The variant has been found in Maharashtra and among Indian travellers, according to the World Health Organization. In an interview, Gokhale noted that the widespread exposure to covid-19 has made the population susceptible to various viruses, including the seasonal flu. The department of biotechnology, he said, is developing India’s first indigenous influenza vaccine, targeting a 60% efficacy against all variants, including H1N1 (swine flu) and H2N3 viruses.
As part of the plan, the department has initiated three funded programmes and three international collaborations—one with the European Union and two with the Netherlands. Several multinational companies have developed variant influenza vaccines, but their efficacy is limited to 28-30%, he said. Edited Excerpts: Do we have any information about how the covid-19 pandemic originated? Some claim it escaped from a lab in Wuhan.
Are we any closer to the truth? TRENDING STORIES See All Premium Credit Suisse faces 1st US investor lawsuit over meltdown Premium Banks borrow $164. 8 bn from Fed in rush to backstop liq . .
. Premium US says Russia not benefiting from +$60/bbl oil to India Premium US, European stocks gain; Nasdaq adds 2. 48% Nobody will know the exact answer about the origin of covid-19 virus.
The way I look at it is—it’s a combination of both. Because many experiments are done on animals, and animals are not necessarily in the wild. They can be in the houses, and they can mutate themselves because of immune pressure.
So, viruses can evolve both in the lab as well as in the wild. Clearly, this is not very surprising that such things can occur. As viruses evolve due to pressures, the whole motivation is not clear.
Have we reached a stage where covid-19 is no longer a pandemic and has become endemic? Certainly, there is no doubt about that. The covid-19 strains that are evolving are majorly milder. Their transmission rate is high, and their capacity to infect and cause disease is much low.
But, despite all measures, people will always be genetically susceptible. In the last few days, there has been a slight uptick in new covid-19 from 200 to 300 to 400 to 500 cases. Right now, the covid-19 strain which is circulating is XBB.
1. 16 has evolved in India as per WHO and has been found in Indian travellers and in fact, it has been found in Maharashtra in the last few weeks. So, right now, we have the influenza outbreak and covid uptick due to XBB.
1. 16? There is a large pathological study that has been done in the 90 people who have died to determine where all covid-19 virus survived in the body. Is it surviving only in the lungs or in the brain, or in any other body part? The most common part was the brain.
So, the virus stays in the brain. So, co-infection doesn’t mean that two of the viruses are infecting people because one virus (covid) is already there in the body and has become resident. There are lots of microbes in the human body.
In biology, susceptibility, which is genetic, and pre-disposition, which is stress and trigger, play a role. Now we all have become susceptible due to covid-19. Our immune system has become monovalent, increasing the susceptibility to other viruses and making people sick.
Never before in this world ever happened that everyone would have the same kind of antibodies and react in the same way to a pathogen. Therefore, people are falling sick so often with viral infection or influenza. All of a sudden, many young people are suffering heart attacks or strokes.
Why is this happening? MORE FROM THIS SECTION See All Premium Premium Should you be worried about the H3N2 virus? Premium Premium US maternal mortality hits highest level since 1965 Premium Premium The world is going to miss the totemic 1. 5°C climate target Premium Premium The American diet has a sandwich problem ICMR is looking into it and collecting the data across the states. Now, how much it is triggered by covid-19, it has to be identified.
The report is likely to be out sometime soon. And, as I said, never before has such a high level of vaccination happened, and the presence of the same kind of antibody titers in the body. Why are these influenza outbreaks and deaths taking place? H3N2 viruses are known to be found in younger children.
It is not new. Even common colds and flu can cause death if timely treatment is not given. However, H3N2 (influenza) is a manageable virus and is not a scare.
What vaccines are we working on? What about an influenza shot? There are multiple projects in progress. For example-influenza vaccine. The thing is that India does not have its own influenza vaccine till now.
Right now, what is happening is that every year, a new influenza vaccine is given as per the variant circulating, and also, there is no robust efficacy response. So that is why DBT has initiated three funded programmes on flu vaccines, i. e.
, to develop the vaccine with different methods. Three international collaborations have been done so far—one in the European Union and two with the Netherlands. So, this will be India’s first indigenously developed influenza vaccine with better efficacy.
We are targeting an efficacy of 60%. As of now, the worldwide efficacy is seen to be around 28-30%. Catch all the Business News , Market News , Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint.
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