Tests positive at the age of 7 years for Omicron in the first case of the Bengal variant; 2 African returnees infected, bringing the total to 64

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“Our vaccines may become ineffective in emerging situations” and stressed the need to be prepared to modify vaccines as needed. He is also hoping that COVID in India may be heading towards endemicity, where there is a low or moderate level of transmission.

“We have experienced the Delta shock and now the Omicron shock… there is a potential scenario that our vaccines could become ineffective in emerging situations following the last three weeks of living with Omicron, we have seen how such doubts arose. , some of them may be genuine, we still don’t have the final picture, ”he said. Speaking at an event hosted by industry body CII, Paul also stressed the need for vaccine platforms that quickly adapt to the changing nature of variants.

“How soon can we create a vaccine that uses the same platform, but now targets the variant of the day… we may have to think about how we’re going to do this. “… In moving from the rapid development of a generic vaccine, we have to be prepared to be able to have a situation where, in a resilient way, we are able to modify the vaccines as needed (d). It might not happen every three months, but it could happen every year maybe. Therefore, this must be taken into account, ”said Paul.

The new COVID variant called B.1.1.529 or Omicron was first reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) in South Africa on November 24. According to Paul, drug development will not go out of fashion for the next viral epidemic / pandemic that the world may face and this challenge of antimicrobial resistance also calls for drug solutions.

Noting that there is a need to examine how India’s mainstream pharmaceutical industry can have a roadmap and a risk-taking attitude, he said: “We always cry for an effective drug to fight against viral diseases, including COVID ”. The coronavirus pandemic has taught that viruses cannot be taken lightly and that the unpredictability of emerging health scenarios must be respected and addressed, Paul noted.

“The pandemic is not over, we will continue to face uncertainty, although we hope that we may be heading towards endemicity, hopefully mild disease, that we can fight”, Paul said but warned that the situation cannot be taken for granted. The endemic stage is when a population learns to live with a virus. It is very different from the epidemic stage where the virus invades a population.

While noting that industry’s contribution to science is low in the country, Paul said, “Our national investment in science is entirely public money… even during vaccine development, a lot of testing has been done. carried out at the national laboratory ”. In addition, he said 97% of vaccines delivered to Indians were delivered with public money and very little with private money.

The top priority right now is to ensure that there is universal vaccine coverage and that no one is left behind, Paul said, adding that globally 3.6 billion people are not vaccinated. “We need 7.2 billion doses together, and with the current production rate, it’s within our reach… we can deliver the vaccine,” Paul said.

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