Indian variant is deadly

By: Dr Asif Channer      Published: 06:35 PM, 11 Aug, 2021
Indian variant is deadly

It was October 5, 2020 when the Indian variant of coronavirus was first detected in the world in Maharashtra, India during the second wave of the pandemic. It is a highly contagious variant that has been spreading rapidly throughout the globe after its emergence and is contributing to the ongoing fourth wave of the pandemic in Pakistan. The Indian variant was originally called B.1.617.2.

The World Health Organization (WHO) named it the Delta variant on 31 May 2021 and has labelled the Indian variant as a “variant of concern.”

Due to its visible rapid, widespread in communities, it seems to be weeks away from becoming the dominant strain in the World. The variants originally were named for their place of origin by letters and numbers, but the World Health Organization now names them with Greek letters. Delta is the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet. This name was used by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the Delta variant is the fourth major variant of COVID-19 identified so far and the first three variants have been named Alpha, Beta, and Gamma respectively.

Currently, it has spread to 96 countries and regions of the world including Pakistan. The alarming fact is that the aforesaid new variant has 50 percent to 60 percent more transmissibility and it spreads more speedily than the original coronavirus including all other corona variants and causes worse illness and is less susceptible to antibodies resulting from natural infection or vaccination. Therefore, it is less susceptible to treatment or prevention strategies and is more difficult to detect.

In addition, it is targeting young people than older ones. There are no clear reasons but it may be due to Covid-19 vaccination to the older age group on a priority basis than the young. Therefore this scenario could lead to another Covid-19 surge in unvaccinated populations.

The typical signs and symptoms during Covid-19 fourth wave and are fever with running nose. Tiredness, sore throat, diarrhoea, muscle and joint pain, dry cough, loss of taste & smell and headache. The change in colour of toes, skin rash, abdominal pain and shortness of breath are also significant.

It is now a dominant viral strain in the USA and United Kingdom. In the USA this Coronavirus variant was first detected in March 2021 and currently accounts for about 51 percent of COVID-19 cases and is increasing throughout America. In the UK the Delta variant was first detected around the end of March 2021 and has been traced to international travel.

Deplorably, during a few weeks back Africa had the worst pandemic week as there was 43% rise in pandemic deaths have been reported in the region and more Devastating outbreaks might progress soon

Furthermore, vaccination campaigns in Africa have been ineffective, culminating in Indian variant serious crisis which would overburden already compromised health care infrastructure thus heading to lethal outbreaks across the continent. At present, the top five badly effected countries by Covid-19 pandemic include South Africa, Libya, Namibia Tunisia and Botswana respectively

The countries and regions are focusing on special arrangements to tackle the stations as ‘The Delta variant is starting an outbreak in all European countries, including USA and UK, Africa, Asia and other parts of the world Japan in the Hokkaido region has prohibited spectators for physical presence during the football matches of the Olympic Games as scheduled from July 23 to August 8, 2021

The Netherlands has been jumped back into restrictions including the closure of restaurants and nightclubs at midnight as a result of a seven-fold surge in daily infections during the last week.

Spain is imposing restrictions due to the rapid increase in Covid-19 cases recorded for the last several days, mainly among young people.

France is recording the suspected Delta variant amazingly more than one out of two cases of Covid-19 are being suspected with delta virus.

South Africa has imposed curfews and bans on gatherings. Bangladesh has shut down public transportation. Some parts of Australia are under stay-at-home orders with mask mandates. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the Indian variant is on track to make up 90 percent of new cases of coronavirus in the European Union by the end of upcoming August.

In the United States, the Indian variant has overtaken the Alpha variant as the dominant variant as per assessments proposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Vaccines are the most potent tool to shield against the prevalent fourth wave and to terminate the Covid-19 Pandemic. The World Health Organization recently recommended that vaccinated people should continue to wear masks indoors. This is a reaction to the increasing spread of the Delta variant throughout the world. In USA Western and Southern states having low vaccination rates, Covid-19 cases are increasing again. It is observed with great concern that delta variant is on surge among unvaccinated or poorly vaccinated populations hence increasing rates of vaccination in the communities are inevitable. Furthermore, the Global Health Authorities are emphasizing the shortening of the window between first and second doses of vaccinations

It has been observed that an even single dose of a two-dose vaccine can provide a fairly strong defence against other strains of the coronavirus including about 33 per cent protection against the delta variant and full vaccination is recommended with possibly enhanced protection. In addition, Pfizer and Biotech are working on booster shot development which would target the Indian variant. 

Interestingly, the inequitable and uneven distribution of the Covid-19 vaccines in public globally is the main reason for the emergent Indian variant thus fourth wave.

For Pakistan, this ongoing Covid-19 fourth wave might be an iceberg as more than 50% of the nation comprises young people, both the Covid-19 deaths and positivity rates are increasing once again and if the preventive measures like using face masks, hand sanitation, social distancing, avoiding overcrowded places and unnecessary outside visits, excellent airflow and ventilator arrangements especially in the scenario of upcoming Muharram ul Haram and hereafter are not taken effectively and efficiently, it may lead to a disastrous situation. Social mobility and social mixings should also be minimized along with an equitable, smooth and easy access to vaccinations for all the citizens above 18 should be ensured by the Governments around the globe without any disruption and delay.

Categories : Opinion