ANI Photo | Mutation is COVID’s only tool for outbreak, people should be careful: Expert

Amid the concerns over rising cases of COVID in several countries especially neighbouring China, a top scientist from Tata Institute for Genetics and Society, Bengaluru on Friday said that the COVID subvariant is less likely to trouble India due to hybrid immunity among the populace while adding that people must be careful since the only tool the virus has for an outbreak is mutation.
Speaking to ANI, Dr Rakesh Mishra, Director, Tata Institute for Genetics and Society said, “They are all sub-variants of Omicron and it is powerful in terms of infectivity. That is how it keeps acquiring newer things and keeps giving us surprises once in a while. We should be more careful because the only tool this virus has is mutations. Now China is the playground for this virus for the next several months. It means the virus will have a good chance to try out new experiments and many variants will emerge from there.”
Dr Mishra further warned about the new variant and emphasised on genomic surveillance.
He said people should not put down their guards and adhere to COVID protocols like wearing a mask and social distancing.
Dr Mishra highlighted that India is in good condition to deal with the situation because of the vaccination coverage and hybrid immunity.
He said, “We are in very good condition and actually there is nothing to worry about or panic about at this moment. Based on all the earlier development of the disease, we are in a very advanced stage compared to them. We have gone through many of these things which for example, China is going through now.”

“If I explain the situation in China, they followed the zero COVID policy that did not allow the disease to spread. So it is like returning to the disease’s beginning in China. China has not phased any wave, which means their whole populace is naive. Other countries like Australia and New Zealand also followed strict measures like quarantined and lockdowns. But they followed up with a very strong vaccination programme and other preparedness, which China failed,” Dr Mishra added.
In China, he further said extensive vaccination was not followed and the vaccine also seemed to be not that effective. “And unfortunately, as per the data that is coming in, the senior citizens there are not vaccinated. Millions are unvaccinated or have got only one dose. It means they are vulnerable to the disease. It is like the case with the Omicron variant India went through almost a year back,” he said.
Drawing a comparison between India and China, Dr Mishra said that India has strong protection of hybrid immunity due to exposure either symptomatic or asymptomatic and China has not developed that situation.
He stressed on more testing, genome surveillance and environmental surveillance in order to track the subvariant and mutations.

This report is filed by ANI news service. TheNewsMill holds no responsibility for this content.

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