80% post-vaccination infections due to Delta variant, says ICMR study
A new study conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has found that COVID-19 vaccination reduces hospitalizations and mortality among patients. The study also found that over 80% of all infections recorded among those vaccinated were linked to the Delta variant (B.1.617.2). It is perhaps the first nationwide analysis on breakthrough infections (infections after vaccination). Here are more details.
ICMR study involved COVAXIN, Covishield, Sinopharm
The study was a clinical characterization and genomic analysis of COVID-19 positive cases who had taken one or two doses of the vaccine before infection. The study was conducted on 677 samples taken during the peak of the second wave. Out of the 677 participants, 71 had taken COVAXIN, two had taken the Sinopharm shot, while the remaining 604 had received Covishield.
86% of cases caused by Delta variant: ICMR
The study also pointed out that 86.09% of breakthrough cases were caused by the Delta variant. Stating that most of the cases were mainly caused by Delta and Kappa variants, the ICMR said, "The northern and central regions [of India] reported such infections due to Alpha, Delta and Kappa variants; however, cases due to Alpha variant predominated in the northern region."
Clinical samples collected from 17 states, UTs
The ICMR said that the clinical samples were collected from 17 states and Union Territories and are based on participants testing positive in the real-time RT-PCR tests done. The study found while 9.8% of cases required hospitalization, only 0.4% of deaths were reported in people who were positive for COVID-19 after having two doses of the vaccine.
Most cases symptomatic; 29% asymptomatic
Further, 71% of cases were symptomatic with one or more symptoms, while 29% were asymptomatic, the study said. It said fever was the most consistent symptom found in 69% of cases. Around 56% of cases had symptoms like body aches, headache, and nausea. It was followed by symptoms like cough (45%), sore throat (37%), loss of smell and taste (22%), diarrhea (6%), breathlessness (6%).
Study aims to allay fears regarding vaccination
As the country is witnessing the spread of new variants of COVID-19, questions were raised about the efficacy of vaccines. The study reportedly aims to ward off fears of people who are still hesitant to take the COVID-19 vaccine. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Indian Medical Association (IMA) have warned the government that the third wave of COVID-19 is "inevitable and imminent."