Coronavirus Briefing Newsletter - Times of India

Coronavirus Briefing Newsletter – Times of India

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The Count
  • India’s health ministry Wednesday confirmed 43,733 new cases and 930 fatalities, taking the total to 30,663,665 cases (459,920 active cases) and 404,211 fatalities.
  • Worldwide: Over 184.6 million cases and 4 million fatalities.
  • Vaccination in India: 361,323,548 doses. Worldwide: Over 3.26 billion doses.
TODAY’S TAKE
Let’s talk Lambda variant
Let’s talk Lambda variant
  • A new coronavirus variant — the lambda variant — has spread to almost 30 countries. Australia detected its first lambda variant case this week, and the UK has reported six lambda infections.
  • The variant — known to scientists as C.37 — was named last month by the World Health Organization (WHO). It is the WHO’s seventh variant of interest thus far, a designation lower than a variant of concern, which currently includes the alpha, beta, gamma, and delta variants.
  • Lambda was first discovered in Peru in December 2020 and accounts for nearly 82% of the coronavirus case samples reported during May and June in the South American country, Euro News reported, citing the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).
  • In neighbouring Chile, the strain accounts for more than 31% of the samples from May and June.
  • The latest research: Though a study on the variant has not yet been peer reviewed, it may be more contagious than other variants.
  • The study, based on tests on samples from healthcare workers in Chile, suggested that the Lambda variant is more infectious than both the Alpha (UK) or the Gamma (Brazil) variants.
  • It also suggests that the Lambda variant has a higher “immune escape” compared to the Alpha or Gamma variants in relation to antibodies produced in patients who have received China’s CoronaVac (Sinovac) vaccine. (The preprint did not look at other vaccines.)
  • Per Malaysia’s health ministry, it’s turning out to be deadlier than Delta, which was first discovered in India. No cases of Lambda have been found in India as yet.
TELL ME ONE THING
Centre to consider booster dose for healthcare workers
Centre to consider booster dose for healthcare workers
The union government is examining whether healthcare workers should be provided with a booster dose of Covid-19 vaccine to strengthen their immune response. The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation will look into this as it is not clear how long the immunity lasts after vaccination, the Economic Times reports.

  • “While there is evidence that immunity from a Covid-19 infection can last eight months or more, there is no concrete scientific data on immunity acquired through vaccination,” the report quoted an unnamed health ministry official as saying.
  • “There is also a more complex issue, of which booster dose to administer. If a healthcare worker had received Covaxin, should he or she be given a booster shot of Covishield or vice versa?”

States such as Haryana and Chhattisgarh have formally written to the union government seeking clarity on the need for a third dose of vaccine to healthcare workers.

  • “The issue of a booster dose is under study by scientists and there is a view that a third booster dose of Covishield is very effective. It needs to be seen whether it is a sales pitch or based on reliable scientific research. We have sought clarity on this,” T.S. Singh Deo, the health minister of Chattisgarh told ET.
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Written by: Rakesh Rai, Judhajit Basu, Sumil Sudhakaran, Tejeesh N.S. Behl
Research: Rajesh Sharma

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