I never saw any report which said numbers will go very high: Biotech Secy

By Anubhuti Vishnoi7 days ago

Department of Biotechnology secretary Renu Swarup speaks to ET on the virus variants at work, ongoing studies to assess reinfection after vaccination and more. Excerpts:

THE VARIANTS

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Data for the UK variant is already there. Those from South Africa and Brazil have not spread so much. In Punjab, the UK strain was the largest concern as is clearly brought out by the rate of transmission. This was also put out by the UK government. We have seen this variant in Delhi but still not in high percentages. However, trends change weekly and we are studying the transmission and its correlation with higher mortality and severity. The Nation Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has just got this data. The B.1.167 (Indian) variant is prevalent in Maharashtra and we are seeing it now growing and increasing in other states like Delhi and Karnataka. The transmission rates seem to be higher for it and the data on severity and mortality is being correlated.

VACCINES AND VARIANTS

Early data has shown both our vaccines are effective. The good thing is that we have been able to isolate South Africa, UK and the B.1.617 variants and have developed neutralising acids for them. We are now testing our vaccines - Covishield and Covaxin on it. The emergency authorisation has been given to Sputnik and we are already working with the Reddy group for testing it against these variants.

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