The number of active COVID-19 cases in India stayed below eight lakh for the second consecutive day on October 18.
In a significant development, a government-appointed panel on October 18 said that the COVID-19 pandemic has peaked in India and can be controlled by early next year with "minimal active cases by February-end" if protective measures are followed.
According to reports, the 'COVID-19 India National Supermodel' committee, led by Professor M Vidyasagar of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad, revealed the findings in its study titled 'Progression of the COVID-19 pandemic in India: Prognosis and Lockdown Impacts'.
According to the study, the total number of infections in India by the time the epidemic ends would be 105 lakh. Currently, India has reported over 75 lakh cases of the infectious disease.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
The study, according to a Mint report, also states that the upcoming festival season combined with winter could increase susceptibility to the infection. Moreover, the report suggests that over 30 percent of the population is projected to have antibodies.
In September, citing results of its serological survey, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had said 64 lakh Indians had been already infected by COVID-19 by May. These cases were undiagnosed and the patients had developed antibodies against the novel coronavirus.
The committee's study also said that had there been no lockdown, COVID-related deaths in India would have surpassed 25 lakh by August. Moreover, there would have been over 1.4 crore symptomatic infections by June in the absence of a lockdown, the study said.
The number of active COVID-19 cases in India stayed below eight lakh for the second consecutive day on October 18 and comprised 10.45 percent of the total caseload, the Union Health Ministry said.There are 7,83,311 active cases of coronavirus infection as on date. The total number of recoveries has surged to 65,97,209 and exceed active cases by 58,13,898.