Hyderabad

Vaccination is an absolute must: CSIR chief

Shot of safety: The vaccination drive in progress in Hyderabad on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: RAMAKRISHNA G

There is clear evidence from around the world that vaccination against COVID-19 dramatically brings down hospitalisation rate and, more importantly, deaths, so getting inoculated is an absolute must, said Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) Director General Shekhar C. Mande on Saturday.

“The severity of the disease is less on usage of vaccines and we are advocating use of face mask all the time because aerosol spread is the main way in which the virus spreads. Wearing the mask will prevent the infected person from spreading the infection and the other person from inhaling, because the danger of next wave is always looming around,” he said.

After inaugurating various facilities at the Intermagnet Choutuppal Geomagnetic Observatory of the CSIR-National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI), Dr. Mande in an interaction pointed out that the COVID wave in UK has been just over the peak while the southern states in US are experiencing the next wave.

“There would certainly be a third wave; when it will come, how it come, what will drive the wave — whether due to a new mutant or laxity on the part of the people, we don’t know. Therefore, we should be on our guard and be very careful by continuously appealing to people to maintain COVID-appropriate behaviour until we can bring down infections to a low number and to a point where there is no danger,” he explained.

The objective is also to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible. “If we are able to do both — adherence to COVID-appropriate behaviour and vaccination, then there is a scientific evidence that is emerging very rapidly that the intensity of the wave and number of deaths can be reduced significantly,” he asserted.

Concerns

Kerala’s rising cases to 20,000 or more daily is a “cause of concern” but close watch is being kept and genome sequencing is being enhanced here and in Maharasthra too. CSIR labs in coordination have come up with solutions for preventing the spread of the virus in indoor spaces by installing UV devices at AC vents and a nationwide three-year plan to take up large scale surveillance through genome sequencing is being initiated.

This will be in addition to the work being done by the INSACOG or Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium where CSIR-CCMB here and CSIR-IGIB in Delhi are sequencing 60% of the samples in the country. The idea is to do as much surveillance as possible, share the data with other agencies to look out for a mutant, and alert the Health Ministry as was done with Delta variant.

Dr. Mande was quite confident of an efficient drug emerging out of the globalwide research as both private and public bodies are involved and the best of minds have been working at a phenomenal pace. Within the country, there are promising signs of efficacy of repurposed drugs developed by CSIR labs – Sepsivac and Umifenovir, as the clinical trials have reached a logical conclusion. Another promising drug Niclosamide is under clinical trial, he added.


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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 5:54:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/vaccination-is-an-absolute-must-csir-chief/article35658538.ece

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