Amid third wave fears, Covishield proven highly effective against Delta
The Delta variant is highly-transmissible and possibly leads to a more severe disease of COVID-19. It had driven India's deadly second wave of the pandemic and is currently triggering outbreaks in several countries, including the United States and England. It may also bring a third wave in India, experts have warned. But the silver lining is India-made Covishield vaccine may help battle the variant.
When will the third wave hit India?
A third wave of coronavirus infections could hit India as soon as this month, according to top experts. Daily cases in the fresh wave could go up to 1,50,000, a recent study by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Hyderabad and Kanpur, has revealed. The surge in infections may peak in October, the report added.
How dangerous is the Delta variant?
In England, a third wave of coronavirus cases was driven by the Delta strain among both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, according to a large-scale study conducted there. The study included the samples of 98,000 people in that country. Effectiveness of vaccines in stopping infections during the study period dropped to 49%, from 64% a month before, the researchers noted, according to Bloomberg.
What is the Delta variant?
Delta, also known by its formal scientific name B.1.617.2, is said to be the most infectious coronavirus variant identified yet. It was first detected in India last year, driving the country's devastating second surge, which peaked at 4,14,000 cases in May. Studies also suggest the variant may partially evade the immunity generated by the body after prior infection or vaccination.
Full vaccination with Covishield gives high immunity against Delta
Meanwhile, a study published by the Indian Council of Medical Research and the National Institute of Virology shows that people fully vaccinated with Covishield have a high immunity against the Delta strain. "The study demonstrated that the breakthrough cases and the COVID-19 recovered individuals with one or two doses of Covishield vaccine had relatively higher neutralizing responses against the Delta variant," the report said.
India's coronavirus situation
India had faced the world's worst coronavirus outbreak earlier this year, reporting lakhs of cases and thousands of deaths daily amid a crumpled healthcare system. The situation has since improved, with the country reporting around 40,000 daily cases in the past few weeks. In the past 24 hours, India logged over 42,000 fresh cases - nearly 40% rise from Tuesday.
How is India's vaccination drive going?
India has administered more than 47 crore vaccine doses so far. Even though nearly 27% of the population have received at least one shot, just about 7.5% have been fully vaccinated as yet. The central government has set a target of inoculating a billion people by the end of this year. However, several states continue to report a shortage of vaccines.