New Delta Strain

THERE is a new virus variant Delta AY.4.2 strain that has emerged in parts of India. The variant is believed to be more transmissible than the earlier delta variant which wrought such havoc in India early this year, leading to thousands of deaths. However by June, the pandemic had been brought very much under control. Though ever since India has been anticipating and preparing for the third wave, it mercifully has not come to pass so far.  The largescale vaccination has certainly played a role in arresting the spread of infections. India's Covid vaccination count has already crossed the 100 crore-mark. Even the World Bank president David Malpass has congratulated India on a successful vaccination campaign against the Covid-19 pandemic as he met the finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in October and appreciated India's international role in vaccine production and distribution.

India’s total caseload is now under 13000, of which Kerala alone accounts for 7,427 cases. The country’s overall active caseload has gone way below 2 lakh after more than seven months. This shows a steady decline in numbers. If this trend continues, India seems on way to be rid of the pandemic in a month or two.

But the Delta AY.4.2 strain could cause some serious problems if not controlled in time. Or if it is observed to be somewhat unchecked by the vaccination. As many as 17 cases of the  strain have been found in India. In Karnataka,  the government is mulling fresh guidelines to combat the strain. A sub-lineage of the Delta variant of COVID-19, AY.4.2, has earlier been detected in the United Kingdom, China, and Russia.

So, India needs to get its act right. At the same time the world has to work together to stamp out what is otherwise an abating pandemic. Addressing the first session of the G20 summit in Rome, “Global economy and global health”,  Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about the need for a collaborative approach to fight the COVID-19 pandemic covering scientific communities and governments.

Over the last two years, the world has certainly acted in concert in so far as the vaccination is concerned which has brought the pandemic under control. That said, the governments in the different countries have to stick to complementing the vaccination with the upgrading of healthcare and strict enforcement of adherence to SOPs in public.  In India, this is more critical in view of the emergence of new delta strain. This alone will help stave off more outbreaks in various parts of the country which, if unchecked, could create conditions for a third wave.

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