The covid-19 cases seem to be on a rise in various parts of India plausibly driven by the Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5. It has been suggested by World Health Organization (WHO) chief scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan that it may trigger a new “mini wave”, Indian Express reported.
“The sub-variants that are emerging are more transmissible than the original Omicron BA.1 and there is a likelihood of waning immunity. It is a possibility that there could be mini waves every four-six months or so and hence, apart from all Covid-appropriate precautionary measures that need to be taken, it is important to also track the variant,” Dr. Swaminathan told Indian Express.
Dr. Swaminathan also suggested that the numbers might be underestimated due to home testing and home isolation. “We need to keep a watch on hospital-based admissions and ensure that the vulnerable group who are 60 years and above get their booster doses,” she said.
Dr. Swaminathan also gave the example of South Africa which recently survived its fifth wave of covid-19 which was led by BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants of Omicron. According to a WHO report (June 2), new cases had decreased after four consecutive weeks of increase across Africa, signalling the possibility that the latest surge had reached its peak.
The Indian Express report further added that according to a noted virologist and professor at Christian Medical College, Vellore, “this is really whether one is considering a wave as cases or as an illness that results in hospitalisation. In either case, what is clear is that what we are seeing now is most likely to be sub-variants of Omicron. They are capable of infecting people who have been previously infected but not necessarily causing the disease(in those who have recently been infected or vaccinated).”
“Those at high risk of severe disease are the unvaccinated, aged people who have been vaccinated a long time ago or people who have comorbidities and the vaccines have not worked in them. In general, if you are healthy and vaccinated you may get infected but there is no need to panic or worry. We are likely to see more such waves and this is going to be the new pattern of the disease that we will see. Every time there is a variant or sub-variant, there will be an increase in cases,” the virologist added.
India reported 7,584 fresh covid-19 cases which is the highest surge in nearly three months. The total active cases have risen to 36,267 in India.
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