A Race with No Finish Line! A post-COVID-19 challenge

by Gyanvitaranam

The expertise acquired by Indian scientists in genome analysis serves well in monitoring the spread and severity of new variants of COVID-19. A newly detected variant, XBB1.16, which drives the current surge in cases started early this year. It has been assessed quickly and experts assure us that there is no alarming severity.

The basic reasons for this optimism are the presence of natural immunity and the commendable vaccination cover. The number of people vaccinated crossed the 220-crore mark in mid-March 2023. It took nine months to reach the first 100-crore mark and another nine months to reach the 200-crore mark. It was disclosed that 71 per cent of the vaccination centres were in the rural areas. The programme also reflected gender equity: 51 per cent of the vaccinated were women.

Thanks to this positive development and the vigilance of the States, the variant would not be severe, though caution is necessary. Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science,....

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