Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya will today review the Covid situation and the public health preparedness to tackle the omicron spread in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana, Lakshadweep, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The review meeting, to be held through video conferencing, is scheduled at 2.30 pm today.
Earlier this week, the Indian SARS-COV-2 Genomics Consortia INSACOG said that Omicron is in the community transmission stage in India. It has become dominant in multiple metro cities where new cases have been rising exponentially, with BA.2 lineage, an infectious sub-variant of Omicron, found in a substantial fraction in the country, INSACOG said.
As many as 9,672 Omicron samples were found in January in genome sequencing constituting 75 per cent of the total sequenced samples of COVID-19, a huge rise from 1,292 in December, the government said.
At a press conference, National Centre for Disease Control Director Dr S K Singh said sub-lineages of Omicron — BA.1 and BA.2 — were found in sequenced samples while BA.3 has not been found yet.
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.
"We were getting more samples of BA.1 earlier mostly in travellers. But now we are seeing that BA.2 has become more prevalent in the community," Singh said.