Pay attention to breakthrough COVID-19 infections, says study

‘Ability of variants to escape vaccine induced immunity a key concern’

January 28, 2022 12:26 am | Updated 12:26 am IST - Chennai

The mechanisms by which virus variants escape vaccine-induced immunity must be studied thoroughly in the near future. A paper in the International Journal of Scientific Study, that studied breakthrough infections after vaccination among diabetics in Chennai, has called for extensive research on the nature of these infections and how and why they are possible.

The article by V. Balaji et al , concluded in their study done at Dr. V. Balaji Dr. V. Seshiah Diabetes Care and Research Institute in Chennai, showed breakthrough infections occurring in patients with Type 2 diabetes.

Of 3,243 patients who stepped into hospital and were vaccinated (either completely or partially), Dr. Balaji says, over 1% reported being infected with COVID-19 after vaccination. Of this 1%, 11 patients had severe to critical illness and required hospitalisation. Mild to moderate infection was observed in 25 patients who were quarantined, and one person had no symptoms and an incidental test showed him to be COVID-19 positive.

In those who were symptomatic, symptoms such as fever, cough, breathlessness, body pain and loss of smell and taste lasted between 4 and 10 days.

The ability of the virus variants to escape vaccine-induced immunity and cause asymptomatic infection (allowing the infection to spread) or illness is a key concern, Dr. Balaji says.

Multiple studies that have been done among vaccinated individuals getting breakthrough infections across the world, have been quoted in the paper. A critical aspect of pandemic management is preventing vaccine failures due to variants.

“It is important to be aware of the mechanisms that allow variants to escape vaccine-induced immunity, so research is essential. In the meantime, public health measures such as mandatory mask wearing and hand washing remain essential for controlling outbreaks,” Dr. Balaji adds.

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