New Delhi [India], December 15 (ANI): Omicron is a differently mutated virus and India has taken the variant very seriously, said Dr Mohan Gupte (retd), the founder-director of ICMR Epidemiology Department in Chennai on Wednesday.
“As far as India is concerned, we have taken Omicron very seriously. India had some time to respond and are keeping everything ready in case we get a large number of cases and they need some hospitalisation,” Dr Gupte told ANI.
As the cases of Omicron have seen a surge, Dr Gupte said that it is a “serious issue.”
However, as per the observation of cases in South Africa, where Omicron first emerged, Dr Gupte said that it is a “very mild type of disease” adding that it is still an early stage.
Dr Gupte further stressed that there is “no reason to be afraid” on Omicron being detected in children.
“In children, the disease seems to be very mild. Severities are low. There is hardly any hospitalisation. There is no mortality at all,” he said.
According to Dr Gupte, there are “conflicting reports” on how vaccines are going to work on Omicron.
“Omicron is a differently mutated virus. In the context of Omicron, we are not sure how the vaccines are going to work. Some reports state that a booster dose will increase immunity and the severity of the diseases will go down. Some also state that infection cannot be prevented.
There are some other reports which stated that with so many mutations, 32 mutations in the spike protein, we cannot take things for granted,” Dr Gupte said.
Noting that the virus cannot be taken for granted, especially in case of those having comorbidities, Dr Gupte said booster dose should be given to such categories.
As for the decision on vaccines for children, Dr Gupte said, “We expect that in about six months’ time, vaccines for children should be available.
There are developments already. As far as Covaxin is concerned, it’s ready. They have demonstrated very efficacious results in children.”
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