Home / News / India /  Covid third wave won't be as severe as second one, says top medical body

The third wave of Covid-19 pandemic will not be as severe as the second wave, stated Dr Samiran Panda, Head of Epidemiology at ICMR, adding that more vaccination and COVID appropriate behaviour could play an important role in mitigating these waves.

Dr Panda further stated that vaccines are being tested against the Delta Plus variant, which has emerged as a variant of concern in several parts of India. As per central government data, 48 cases of the Delta Plus variant have been identified in 11 states across the nation.

Maharashtra on Friday reported the first death due to the Delta Plus variant and order malls and other establishments in the city to shut down to keep the highly infectious variant at bay. Earlier today, Tamil Nadu reported its first death due to the variant.

Following a second wave, spurred by the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, states and Centre having been fearing and preparing for a third wave. However, experts believe the third wave, if it comes will be less intensive than the devastating second one.

A study, based on mathematical modelling analysis published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research (IJMR), highlights that the emergence of a third wave of coronavirus could be substantially mitigated by the expansion of vaccination.

"Plausibility of a third wave of COVID-19 in India: A mathematical modelling based analysis" had been authored by Sandip Mandal, Balram Bhargava and Samiran Panda from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), and Nimalan Arinaminpathy from the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, UK.

The findings of the study noted that immune-mediated mechanisms, like waning immunity or viral evolution for immune escape, are unlikely to drive a severe third wave if acting on their own, unless such mechanisms lead to a complete loss of protection among those previously exposed.

Similarly, a new, more transmissible variant would have to exceed a high threshold to cause a third wave on its own. However, 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 lockdowns that are highly effective in limiting transmission and subsequently released, the study further mentioned.

"In both 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," the study stated.

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