India

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New Delhi, June 28: Amid the ongoing concerns over the Delta plus variant of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 task force chief Dr VK Paul has said that there is no scientific data so far to establish that the new variant, which was recently classified as a variant of concern, adversely impacts vaccine efficacy or is highly transmissible.

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“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. 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.

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Paul further said it will not be fair to put a date for any COVID wave as virus behaviour is unpredictable.

This statement comes at a time when India is witnessing rising apprehensions over the possible third wave of COVID-19, which some experts say is inevitable and could hit the country in six to eight months. Dr NK Arora, the chief of the Centre’s COVID-19 working group, on Sunday said that the third wave of coronavirus could be delayed until December this year.

VK Paul, who is also a member (health) of the NITI Aayog, said several factors could contribute to another wave such as overall discipline in terms of COVID-appropriate behaviour, testing and containment strategies, and vaccination rates.

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“And in addition, the unpredictable behaviour of the virus can also change the pandemic dynamics. In such a scenario, their complex factor will determine the chain of transmission and 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.

India that witnessed the deadly second wave of the pandemic in April-May this year when it reported four lakh COVID-19 cases in a day is now on a recovery track. With the improvement in the situation, the unlock process or lifting of restrictions has begun in many parts of the country.

Story first published: Monday, June 28, 2021, 18:38 [IST]

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