Hyderabad: Combination of Covid vaccines and natural immunity acquired by 60 per cent population against the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 should be enough for Telangana to smoothly sail through a possible third Covid wave.
The sero-surveillance study of Hyderabad-based National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), which has indicated that 60.1 per cent population in the State have developed antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 naturally, and the ongoing vaccination drive are expected to go a long way in neutralising future Covid surges.
A third wave may not occur at all and even if it happens, its impact will not be as intense as the second wave, because a large chunk of population in Telangana has already acquired immunity, researchers said.
“Natural immunity and vaccination can act as community barriers and won’t allow the SARS-CoV-2 virus to spread. There were reports that the third wave could impact children in large numbers. There is no such evidence and our sero-surveillance has indicated that a considerable younger population has also acquired immunity,” says Dr A Laxmaiah, Head, Public Health, NIN, and nodal officer for Telangana sero-survey study.
The NIN study, which included children for the first time in Telangana, has indicated that about 55 per cent of kids between 6 years and 9 years had developed antibodies.
“These figures are very encouraging for Telangana. If we continue to intensify the vaccination, then along with naturally acquired immunity, I see no reason why the third wave could be intense. However, public should not get carried away and must continue to focus on getting vaccines and follow Covid-appropriate behaviour for a few more months,” Dr Laxmaiah cautioned.
A few months ago, a study published by top researchers from ICMR including its chief Dr Balram Bhargav and senior scientist Dr Samiran Panda in Indian Journal of Medical Research (IJMR), also indicated that the third wave may not be extensive.
“Plausible mechanisms for a third wave include a new variant that is more transmissible and at the same time capable of escaping prior immunity and easing of lockdowns. In both these cases, any third wave seems unlikely to be as severe as the second wave. Rapid scale-up of vaccination efforts could play an important role in mitigating these and future waves of the disease,” ICMR researchers had said.
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