Worst is Over, Says Expert on Delta Variant, Hopes Immunisation in Kids Will Start by Year End

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The threat of highly infectious Delta variant, which according to a consortium of Indian scientists was responsible for the severe Covid-19 second wave in India, has come down, said Dr NK Arora, Head of National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation in India (NTAGI).

In an exclusive interview, Dr Arora said the NTAGI is closely monitoring the dosage gap in vaccinations and will review data on it in three to four months.

“We are closely monitoring the dosage gap in vaccinations and will review data on it in three to four months. As far as the impact of the Delta variant is concerned the worst is over in India,” said Dr Arora about Delta variant, also known as B.1.617.2, which is considered the major factor behind the devastating second wave of the pandemic in India.

The variant has spread to more than 60 countries and has even forced the United Kingdom government to reconsider its unlocking plans later this month.

“The Covaxin breakthrough, infection rates are similar to Covishield. Antibodies are a visible part of the vaccine response but there are a lot of parts like T-cells, etc. which are not visible. We have seen the raw Phase-3 clinical trial data from Bharat Biotech I believe the data is available and is ready for publishing,” he said.

According to him, there is a high possibility that “we will start immunising children in the later part of the year or early part of the next year.”

“I hope the trial results for the 2-18 year group will be out soon,” Dr Arora said.

The Covid-19 cases, he said, are likely to reduce rather than go up in number. “The preliminary data shows very high sero-prevalence, which means there is a window period available for rapid immunisation.”

Dr Arora assured that there will be no vaccine shortage in the country going forward. “As we enter next phase of vaccination, the relative shortage of vaccines should disappear. The Serum Institute of India will produce 12 crore doses/month, Bharat Biotech will produce 10 crore dose per month and Sputnik-V will produce 3 to 5 crore doses per month.”

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