Experts call for molecular sequencing of the virus

HYDERABAD: Even as India has taken a good step in cancelling travel to and from the United Kingdom, a need is being felt to immediately implement the vaccination program with the existing chain.  

Scientists and researchers are seeking proactive steps of molecular sequencing of the virus as was done in the case of poliovirus. They aver that this will provide more information on epidemiology and the spread of the disease. Acquiring this knowledge will help authorities to align with health research and health services and help formulate informed strategies to mitigate the adverse impact of the virus.

Dr K.K. Aggarwal, president of Confederation of Medical Associations of Asia and Oceania (CMAAO) points out, “Protection from vaccine is not immediate as it will take one to two weeks following the second dose. All those who are vaccinated will still have to follow safety protocols of masks, hand hygiene and social distancing.”

The new variant has raised doubts of re-infection in the Covid-19 recovered patients. There are also doubts about infection after taking the vaccine.

Dr Aggarwal says, “It is possible but the impact of the disease will be less.”

With the efficacy of the vaccine being six to eight months, it is being viewed as a yearly vaccine for protection from the disease. With new variants coming in, the efficacy of the vaccine will be a point of debate. There are also doubts about it becoming similar to the influenza vaccine where the new strain has to be taken into account and accordingly develop the vaccine.

A senior scientist, on condition of anonymity, explained, “With new variant strains, analysis of efficacy can be known only after a critical mass of the population is inoculated. With the UK already rolling out its vaccination programme, we will soon find out the quantum of those affected by the new strain.”

There is a vaccine readiness among a section of Indian healthcare workers, who are being counselled about its benefits.

A senior doctor explained, “With new strains coming in, the vaccine is the only way forward. There is very little that can be done, otherwise. In order to live a normal life, it is important to get vaccinated.”

The adverse effects of vaccines are a concern but many of them reason that vaccines are the only way forward until herd immunity to the virus gets developed.


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