Amid concerns of the new Delta plus variant in India, AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria said on Wednesday that any variant’s spread could be controlled through proper Covid-19 protocol, lockdown and vaccinations.
“It is difficult to say that the Delta plus variant is creating any problems in India. But we cannot let our guard down, we need to keep a close look at any surge that is registered. We have to be vigilant to avoid a third wave, and follow COVID protocols. We need to aggressively test and track, get more people vaccinated," Dr Guleria said.
The AIIMS Director said it did not matter what variant came, as long as proper Covid protocol was being followed, the spread of the disease could be controlled. “Lockdown, vaccination, protocols are the best way to tackle any variant," he said.
Dr Guleria warned that vigilance was needed to avoid a third wave.
Fears of a third wave have been rampant, even as the effects of the devastating second wave in India in April and May remain to be mitigated. India saw spiralling infections, increased fatality, shortage of healthcare facilities and medical oxygen amid a peak of cases. Lockdowns and strict restrictions were also initiated in most parts of the country to combat the disaster.
Now that cases have begun to come down, and curbs get relaxed, experts are warning of an impending third wave, which some say would affect children more.
“Authorities need to take a call on opening schools. I personally feel that we need to open schools and look at a strategy to do so; the opening should be graded," he said.
According to him, India still needed to prioritise the older population for vaccination rather than children. “We are seeing many vaccines go into trials for children, we should get information about these vaccines by September, and October," he said.
Talking further about Covid-19 variants, Dr Guleria explained: “A virus mutates regularly. Most mutations are termed as ‘variant of interest’, it becomes a ‘variant of concern’ only when it becomes more infectious or virulent."
Dr Guleria added that Pfizer was negotiating various clauses and was very close to reaching an agreement with the government.