Even if mild, Omicron variant can overwhelming health-care settings

The unprecedented speed at which the Omicron variant is spreading in countries that have high levels of testing, the number of people a single infected person can spread the virus to, and doubling time of less than three days are a loud warning that things can go out of control in a short while. India … Continue reading Even if mild, Omicron variant can overwhelming health-care settings

The basis on which India approves precaution dose remains unclear

On November 22, 2021, Dr. Balram Bhargava said there is no scientific evidence so far to support the need for a booster vaccine dose against COVID-19. The priority was on administering the second dose to all adults. No new evidence from India has become available to support an additional dose after Dr. Bhargava's assertion. There … Continue reading The basis on which India approves precaution dose remains unclear

India should prepare for the worst with Omicron

India has been witnessing a surge in cases in many States. There is no reason to believe that the variant will behave differently in India or that Indians have some unknown shield of protection against the virus. The Omicron variant is galloping across the U.S. and many countries in Europe at a pace never seen … Continue reading India should prepare for the worst with Omicron

Is the current testing, sequencing strategy missing Omicron cases in India?

Positive samples sent for genome sequencing to confirm for the Omicron variant are almost primarily restricted to international passengers. Not only are the testing rates across India low, most of the RT-PCR test kits used in most States do not have the S-gene target in the primer, which can detect the BA.1 sub-lineage. Also, the … Continue reading Is the current testing, sequencing strategy missing Omicron cases in India?

Natural immunity is superior to protection conferred by vaccination but not a safe, preferable option

A large real-world study found natural immunity offers superior and long-lasting protection than vaccination. But vaccination was still equally effective in preventing deaths. The study does not tell if the level and duration of protection varies depending on the severity of the disease, and whether asymptomatic infection confers the same protection as those with the … Continue reading Natural immunity is superior to protection conferred by vaccination but not a safe, preferable option

India unlikely to witness a huge surge in cases in September

While NITI Aayog has predicted four-five lakh cases a day in September, the ground reality suggests otherwise. Daily cases in all States except Kerala have been steadily declining since the second wave peaked in early May. Unlike in other countries such as the U.S. which is witnessing a surge in cases caused by the Delta … Continue reading India unlikely to witness a huge surge in cases in September

Is the race to reach herd immunity like chasing a mirage?

The emergence of highly contagious new variants, breakthrough infections even among the fully vaccinated and such people spreading the virus to others, and reinfections in the unvaccinated have made the race to reach the magical herd immunity threshold to successfully break the transmission chain and return to normal times looks like chasing a mirage. In … Continue reading Is the race to reach herd immunity like chasing a mirage?