COVID 3rd Wave May Hit India by Dec: NTAGI Chief, Dr NK Arora

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COVID 3rd Wave May Hit India by Dec: NTAGI Chief, Dr NK Arora

A possible third wave of COVID-19 in India will not hit until December, said Dr NK Arora, Chief of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation in India (NTAGI) on Sunday.

“ICMR has come up with a study, which says the third wave will come late in the country,” he was quoted by Hindustan Times.

He further went on to add that there isn't enough evidence to say with certainty that the delta plus variant–that has stirred fresh concern in India–will trigger a third wave.

However, he also added that the possibility should not be entirely dismissed either.

Factors That Can Impact the Third Wave

Dr Arora further elaborated that variants alone won't be responsible for the third wave.

The magnitude of a possible third wave, according to him, will depend on a few other factors as well.

The three factors that he lists are,

  • The proportion of the population that got infected in previous waves

According to Dr Arora, if a large number of people have already been infected with COVID, they are likely to have mild symptoms even if they are reinfected.

"If a large proportion is infected then in the next wave people can develop a common cold-like illness but may not develop a serious or fatal illness."
Dr N K Arora, Chief,
  • The efficiency of the vaccination drive

"...If we rapidly immunise, then the possibility of a third wave becomes very less," he said.

  • Public adherence to COVID appropriate protocol

AIIMS director, Dr Randeep Guleria, had previously predicted that a third wave of COVID-19 in India may arrive in as early as 6 - 8 weeks if COVID appropriate behaviour like masking and social distancing.

The Delta, the Delta Plus Variants, and the 3rd Wave

Fears of an impending third wave have been mounting since the delta plus variant, a mutation of the delta variant, was discovered in India.

The delta variant, is now known to be the reason behind the devastation caused by the second wave of COVID-19 in the country wherein even young people were being infected with severe illness.

Data from recent research has also shown that the COVID vaccines currently in use give lower protection against the delta variant as compared to the original strain, especially after a single dose.

Because the delta plus variant is a mutation from the delta variant, it has sparked questions of the variant being vaccine resistant and being more infectiousness than previous strains.

Experts, however, are still studying the variant and are yet to declare their findings.

Speaking to FIT for a previous article, eminent virologist, Dr Shahid Jameel explained,

"Because this was a mutation that was originally seen in Beta variant and how is seen in Delta variant, that is a matter of concern. You can think of it as two variants of concern coming together. Now, whether the effect of this is going to be neutral, meaning no increase in transmissibility, or whether it will lead to further immune evasion, or whether the effect will be additive, or if the effect is going to be more than the sum of parts, is something that we don't know yet."
Dr Shahid Jameel, Virologist

Dr Jameel further added, "Delta plus could fuel a sort of a third wave only if it turns out to be far more infectious than Delta that is circulating in the population. And from the signatures of this virus, theoretically, I don't see that happening."

"But then we need to keep a watch on it and see how it moves in the population. That is very important,"

(Written with inputs from Hindustan Times and Live Mint)

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