Even as the second wave of ‘double-mutation’ Covid-19 variant (B.1.617) has gripped the nation, there is rising anxiety and fear that the future waves with immune evasive variants could stalk the people relentlessly.
Amid the rising concerns over Covid-19 spread, the Centre’s Chief Scientific Adviser Prof K. Vijay Raghavan has stressed the need to upgrade vaccines against newer strains and strengthen monitoring measures as the third wave of Covid-19 pandemic is inevitable.
The virus has already adopted evasive tactics to hide from antibodies of those vaccinated as well as those who developed immunity during the first wave, according to Times of India quoting Prof. Vijay Raghavan.
The report also adds that the virus is constantly evolving into newer and deadlier variants with increased transmissibility and disease severity seen in the second wave.
“A phase three (of Covid-19 pandemic) is inevitable given the high levels of circulating virus but it is not clear on what timescale this phase three will occur. Hopefully, incrementally but we should prepare for new waves,” Prof. Raghavan explained.
Future waves of Covid-19 spread cannot be avoided as long as human hosts are available for infection and the only way to avert another disaster would be through safe practices and vaccination.
Raghavan also highlighted the importance of adapting new Covid-appropriate behaviour in these testing times as wearing masks and practising social-distancing continue to be “critical and most effective”.
SARS-COV2 virus is likely to evolve and mutate further owing to “adaptive pressure” driven by infections and vaccinations, he added.
Prof. Raghavan also explained why the second wave was bigger and more severe than the previous one: “Phase 1 was a generalist approach of the virus and phase 2 now has fitter viruses arising due to post-immunity due to previous infection. Variants of concern represent better adaptation and are triggered by human population.”
The Chief Scientific Adviser has cautioned that the future waves will bring immune evasive strains that can either lower or increase disease severity. On the flip side, he assures that the infections caused by such new variants will gradually fade away.