Home Covid News and Updates Omicron can have prolonged effect in India, says Harvard Immunologist

Omicron can have prolonged effect in India, says Harvard Immunologist

by Vaishali Sharma

Covid-19 will never be totally eradicated, according to Harvard immunologist Dr. Shiv Pillai, but vaccinations and medications will hopefully improve many things in the next years. Because nothing is known about the second variant of Omicron (BA.2) that has begun spreading in India, the immunologist voiced concern that the current Omicron wave might last for a long time. “There is a version of Omicron BA.2 that is spreading in India; it is not the same as Omicron. In reality, Omicron BA.1 is the original, but it differs somewhat “Dr. Pillai, professor of medicine and health sciences and technology at Harvard Medical School and director of the Harvard Immunology Graduate Program, said ANI.

BA.1, the first version of the Omicron, is slightly milder than the original virus and its variants like Alpha, Beta, Delta and did not affect the lungs badly. But with BA.2, it can’t be confirmed as it is just being reported.

“Immunity from BA.1 first Omicron might give us some immunity against the second one BA.2. But will that second one be as mild? Not proven yet. We’ll see the data will probably come from South Africa and India first. Because in India, BA.2 has taken over it is the most common version in India right now. It’s rising the second version of Omicron,” Dr Pillai said.

South Africa and the United States too have many BA.2 cases, Dr Pillai said, adding that it is not clear whether BA.2 will replace BA.1 and create another surge.

Agreeing with scientists who are of the opinion that Covid will become endemic, Dr Pillai said the virus will live on at some level, maybe in a less virulent form. Vaccinations and drugs will change a lot of things, the immunologist said.

The government’s expert committee on genome sequencing (INSACOG) has said that Omicron is now in community transmission and has become dominant in multiple metros. “BA.2 lineage is a substantial fraction in India and S-gene dropout based screening is thus likely to give high false negatives,” INSACOG said.

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