COVID-19 vaccines will work against new variants of the virus and there is no evidence that current vaccines will fail to protect against the SARS-CoV-2 mutants reported from the UK or South Africa, the government said on Tuesday.
Addressing a press conference, Principal Scientific Advisor K Vijay Raghavan said so far it has not been found that the new variant increases the severity of the disease.
"There is no evidence that current vaccines will fail to protect against COVID-19 variants reported from UK or SA. Most vaccines do target the Spike protein, in which there are changes in the variants but vaccines stimulate our immune system to produce a wide range of protective antibodies," he said.
NITI Aayog member (health) Dr V K Paul said there has been a consistent decline in the number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths which is reassuring given the current scenario across the world.
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"We are consistently showing a decline in the number of new COVID-19 cases, active cases and deaths, which is very reassuring. It stands out particularly during this very period when several nations are facing a devastating situation," Paul said.
He said majority of the population is still susceptible to the infection in the cold weather. "The UK variant has travelled to several other countries and also to India, this variant may have its own run and we have to very careful," Paul said.
Giving a break-up on the basis of the gender and age of those infected with the novel coronavirus, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said 63 percent of total cases in the country have been reported in males and 37 percent cases in females.
"Eight percent cases have been reported below the age of 17 years, 13 percent in the 18-25 years age group, 39 percent in 26-44 years group, 26 percent in 45-60 years group and 14 percent above 60 years," he said.
Bhushan said 70 percent of COVID deaths have been reported in men and 45 percent fatalities due to this disease have been reported in those below 60 years of age.
He said the number of active cases of COVID-19 has been registered at 2.7 lakhs after six months, and the cumulative positivity rate is at 6.02 percent while the positivity rate during last week was 2.25 percent.
"Five states and UTs which account for 60 percent of total active COVID-19 cases are Maharashtra, Kerala, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh," he said.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.