Highlights

  • Covid Panel chief says possible that vaccines may become ineffective
  • "India should have vaccine platforms that are adaptable quickly"
  • Omicron variant was first detected in South Africa in November

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Omicron: Potential scenario that our vaccines may become ineffective, says Covid panel chief

Omicron Variant: Dr VK Paul said he hopes that coronavirus in India is possibly moving in the direction of endemicity

Amid concerns over the Omicron variant of coronavirus, Covid Task Force chief Dr VK Paul on Tuesday said India should have vaccine platforms that are "adaptable quickly" with changing nature of the variants.

Dr Paul said he hopes that coronavirus in India is possibly moving in the direction of endemicity where there is a low or moderate level of transmission going on.

"There is a potential scenario that our vaccines may become ineffective in emerging situations," Dr Paul told PTI. "In the wake of the last three weeks of living with Omicron, we have seen how such doubts have come up. Some of them may be genuine. We still do not have the final picture," he said.

The new and potentially more contagious Omicron variant was first detected in South Africa towards November end. Since then it has spread to over three dozen countries.

Also watch: Omicron in India: Fresh cases in Delhi, Rajasthan, Maharashtra take tally to 49

"And therefore, there is need for us that we have to be sure about having vaccine platforms that are adaptable quickly. This possibility that we need to tweak for us to remain in the game, so to say, with changing nature of the variants remains valid," Dr Paul, also a Niti Aayog member, said.

He noted that in an endemic situation like the flu, India is adjusting every year.

"How soon can we create a vaccine which is using the same platform, but is now targeted to the variant of the day? ...we have to be ready to be able to have a situation where resiliently we are able to modify the vaccines as they require. This may not happen every three months, but this could happen every year perhaps," he observed.

According to Dr VK Paul, drug development will not go out of fashion for the next viral epidemic/pandemic that the world might face.

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