Home/ News / India/  Will China Covid-19 crisis impact India? Here's a variant, vaccine analysis

A significant surge in Covid-19 cases in China has sent shockwaves across the world. Even Indian authorities have sprung into action with the centre issuing advisory to states and Health Minister writing to Rahul Gandhi to stop his Bharat Jodo Yatra. Even though precautions are better than cure, should India press the panic button? Should we be prepared for a 2021 redux?

Serum Institute of India Founder and CEO, Adar Poonawala who manufactured the widely used Covid vaccine Covishield assures, there is no need to panic. He tweeted, “The news of rising COVID cases coming out of China is concerning, we need not panic given our excellent vaccination coverage and track record. We must continue to trust and follow the guidelines set by the Government of India and @MoHFW_INDIA."

China is battling one of the worst phases of the Covid virus. According to news reports trickling down from the country, the dominant virus strain is BF.7, a sub-variant of Omicron. It's something that has been in circulation for over a year now. A report by Live Science states that BF.7 is an abbreviation for BA., a sub-lineage of the omicron variant BA.5. BF.7 is considered to be the most infectious of all the variants, including BA.1 and BA.2.

Covid data analyst, Vijayanand, claims, “China Covid Crisis, the current Variants in China are only Omicron Sublineages BA.2.75, BA.5, BQ.1, XBB all these variants have been found in rest of world. So this crisis in China will have no impact in India or rest of the world. So no reason for a worry or panic."

According to reports, India has been detecting these strains and data from India’s SARS CoV 2 genomic surveillance programme, or INSACOG. BF.7 and has been present here for months.

Situation is worsening in China ever since the zero covid policy was lifted and lockdowns removed, death toll went up to 5241 on December 20 and experts predict it would get worse. To save the embattled economy it has ended mass lockdown, lifted travel restrictions and even allowed people with SARS-CoV-2 to isolate at home instead of in centralized facilities. Even testing is voluntary now. Vaccine hesitancy is another cause of worry. China could see 1.3 million to 2.1 million people die if it lifts its zero-COVID policy due to low vaccination and booster rates as well as a lack of hybrid immunity, British scientific information and analytics company Airfinity said in late November. 

Dr Eric Feigl-Ding, Epidemiologist & health economist blames it on the quality of China made Covid vaccine, “A deeper problem lies in the weaker CoronaVac (by SinoVac) & Sinopharm vaccines. Notice how even with 3 shots of main CoronaVac shot, neutralization performance against newer recent #omicron variants is poor—this is bad. China isn’t using bivalent yet."

According to Y Charts close to 90% of the Chinese population has been vaccinated but now the government is urging citizens to take 4th dose to improve immunity. However, according to a report in Nature, out of over 260 million people in China older than 60, only 70% aged 60 and older, and only 40% aged 80 and more, have received a third dose.




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Updated: 21 Dec 2022, 01:35 PM IST
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