The COVID situation in India may be entering an endemic phase, says WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan

New Delhi: Amid fears of a possible COVID third wave, lead researcher at the World Health Organization Dr Soumya Swaminathan said on Tuesday that the coronavirus situation in India may be heading into some form of endemicity where there is a low or moderate level of transmission.Read also – Afghanistan evacuated to undergo mandatory 14-day institutional quarantine at ITBP Camp in Delhi

It should be noted that the endemic phase is when a population learns to live with a virus. However, it is different from the epidemic stage when the virus overwhelms a population. Also read – Long COVID: Tips on how to identify and correct neurological effects of COVID -19

Swaminathan told the news site The Wire that given the size of India and the heterogeneity of the population and immunity status in different parts of the country, it is “very very possible” that the situation could continue like this with ups and downs in different parts of the country the nation. Read also – Lockdown effect: 2 out of 3 Indian adults addicted to being online due to covid, says report

“We may be going into some form of endemicity where there is low transmission or moderate level transmission, but we are not seeing the exponential growth and peaks that we saw a few months ago,” Swaminathan said.

She went on to say that by the end of 2022, India would be able to have achieved vaccine coverage, say 70 per cent, and then countries can get back to normal.

“As far as India is concerned, that seems to be what is happening, and due to India’s size and heterogeneity in the population and immunity status in different parts of the country in different pockets, it is very very possible that the situation may continue like this with upswing. and downturns in different parts of the country, especially where there is a more receptive population, so that those groups that were perhaps less affected by the first and second wave or areas with low vaccine coverage levels could see peaks and troughs in the next several months, “she said.

In response to a query about the timing of the third wave, she said no one has a “crystal ball” and it is impossible to predict a third wave. “It will be impossible to predict when, where the third wave will be over us, and whether there will be a third wave at all. However, you can guess at some of the variables that affect transmission, ”she said.

Speaking of booster doses, Swaminathan said there are both scientific and moral and ethical reasons not to rush into boosters. “So it would also be in the self – interest of countries that have excessive doses now to send those doses out through Covax to countries that desperately need them,” she said.

Commenting on vaccine passports, she said: “We do not believe that vaccination should be a prerequisite, at least globally, for doing things like traveling, because we have not given everyone a chance to be vaccinated, that there is so much inequality in access to vaccines, so the first thing is to get rid of inequality, then you can let vaccinated people relax certain measures. ”

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