booster dose of COVID-19 AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria said on Tuesday evening that there is no need for a vaccine in India right now, there is a need to focus on increasing the vaccine coverage. He also said that the likelihood of a “huge third wave” is “decreasing with every passing day”.
“Vaccines are stalling, we are not seeing successful infections leading to an increase in our admissions, our sero-positivity rate is very high. All of this suggests that we don’t really need a booster dose right now. We may need it in the future, that’s for sure. But we don’t need a booster dose right now. “We are well protected and I think we should focus on getting as many people as possible to get the first and second doses because if we have enough of this number, we as a country Will be well protected.”
Dr Guleria was speaking at the release of a book “Going Viral” on the making of Bharat Biotech covaxinBy Dr. Balram Bhargava, Director General, ICMR.
On the third wave, Dr Guleria said: “As our immunization program progresses, as we are seeing less vaccine hesitancy and as we are seeing vaccines prevent serious disease and prevent hospitalization and death In the case of – the chance that any major wave is declining with each passing day. It is highly unlikely that we will see a major third wave.”
“But the disease will be endemic and we will continue to have cases … We will have some patients who will be sick but it will not be of the magnitude that we saw in the first and second waves and most of us will be safe.”
NITI Aayog member Dr VK Paul said that more research needs to be done on the question of booster dose in the country.
“When you decide on an additional dose, it should be based on good information and there are many aspects to it. It should be different for different vaccines… the data for A may not apply for B. … another question is of duration. Is it six months, nine months?… We are looking at the data systematically, we are looking at how it should be done… as of now, for a booster for any nation A vaccine priority is when you give two doses to a large population. That job is not done… There is also an ethical dimension to people waiting for their first two doses…”
Speaking on the journey of manufacturing and approval of Covaxin, Dr. Bhargava noted several milestones – becoming the fifth country to isolate a strain. coronavirus, Tracing the contacts of the first case diagnosed in India in January 2020, boosting testing and becoming the first to use antigen tests, launching on-demand testing in September and continuing to ship test kits to other parts of the world – and recalled the successful trial of the Indian vaccine on 20 monkeys as a turning point in vaccine manufacturing.
Referring to the monkeys as the “Unsung Hero”, he said, “There are no breeding facilities, we had to get the monkeys from the wild… we had to capture the monkeys… we got all the permissions within 24 hours.” , the monkey catchers ventured. In the forests of Telangana border, Karnataka border, Maharashtra. They were able to capture 24 monkeys within a week…”
“We had to test the monkeys for their complete biochemical profile, their X-rays, blood tests to make sure they were healthy … To test the monkeys for the vaccine, they had to be given the virus by bronchoscopy … our Didn’t have any such specialist at NIV… We had a pulmonologist who had just returned from Italy, Kshitij Agarwal. He was taken to Pune overnight by an Air Force flight and he did bronchoscopy with specialists from CTC Pune … From day seven, samples were taken daily by bronchoscopy from the monkeys… and look, the virus did not grow. That was the turning point… Hope on the horizon,” he said.