In an interview with AFP, the chief WHO scientist believes, however, that the alternative alone cannot be blamed for the massive increase in cases in India.
Somaya Swaminathan, the chief scientist at the World Health Organization, warned on Saturday that the Indian variant of the coronavirus is more contagious and appears to be resistant to vaccines, which is contributing to the outbreak of the epidemic in India.
She explained that the variable B.1.617 “has mutations that increase rates of transmission, which can also make it resistant to antibodies that have developed through vaccination or natural contamination.”
But the variable alone cannot be blamed for the massive increase in cases in India, which appears to have let its guard down very early, with “large rallies,” she notes. In a large country like India, the infection can persist quietly for several months. “Those early signs were missed until (the transmission) reached a point where the take-off was vertical.”
The problem “for the whole world”
Somaya Swaminathan said that at present, it is very difficult to fight the virus, “because the epidemic is infecting thousands of people and multiplying at a speed that is very difficult to stop,” warning that vaccination alone will not be enough to regain control of the situation.
The scientist stressed that “the greater the reproduction, spread and transmission of the virus, the greater the risk of mutations and adaptation.” “Variables that accumulate a large number of mutations may eventually become resistant to the vaccines we currently have.” “It’s going to be a problem for the whole world,” said Somia Swaminathan.
For the first time on Saturday, India recorded more than 4,000 deaths from Covid-19 within 24 hours and more than 400,000 new infections, but experts believe the official numbers are largely underestimated.