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West Bengal planning to conduct genome sequencing of fully vaccinated people getting COVID-19 infected

The department is also planning to conduct genome sequencing on such patients to find out whether if they have had any genetic change in the strain of the coronavirus.

August 04, 2021 / 11:49 AM IST
The panel also recommended granting permission to Bharat Biotech for carrying out a study on the interchangeability of its Covaxin and the under-trial adenoviral intranasal vaccine candidate BBV154. (Image Source: Reuters/Jose Cabezas)

The panel also recommended granting permission to Bharat Biotech for carrying out a study on the interchangeability of its Covaxin and the under-trial adenoviral intranasal vaccine candidate BBV154. (Image Source: Reuters/Jose Cabezas)

With reports of people getting infected even after being administered two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, the West Bengal Health department has decided to strengthen the surveillance throughout the state and to prepare a chart of such individuals, an official said on Wednesday.

The department is also planning to conduct genome sequencing on such patients to find out whether if they have had any genetic change in the strain of the coronavirus.

According to the official, the decision to carry out such sequencing was taken keeping in mind warnings of experts about a possible third wave of the pandemic.

"The genome sequencing tests must be done on the people who are affected with the virus even after being fully vaccinated. The primary objective is to find out whether if the vaccine has worked against the virus or if it has mutated," the official said, adding that sequencing would be done everywhere in the state.

Incidentally, the district administrations in the northern districts of the state, where a few of such cases have been reported, have decided to carry out such sequencing, he added.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

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.

How many types of vaccines are there?

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.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

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.

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Keeping in mind that a large number of people from neighbouring states often enter Bengal through northern corridors, the department has alerted the districts in the northern part of the state.

"There has been strict surveillance in the districts of north Bengal since it has several entries... from neighbouring states so that Covid protocols are properly followed. We need to be on high alert about the warnings of a possible third wave,” he added.
PTI
first published: Aug 4, 2021 11:49 am

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