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In the last few weeks, India has seen a decline in the number of Covid-19 cases as the country and its citizens are striving to move to normalcy after the intense second wave. The two factors that have contributed to this decline are, first- a large population has already been exposed to the virus, and second- approximately 44% of Indian adults have been fully vaccinated while more than 82% have received the first dose at least. However, we have a new cause of concern at hand with another variant of SARS-CoV-2 virus, Omicron. This new variant of coronavirus and has been labelled as a Variant of Concern (VOC) by the WHO.
The variant is also responsible for the rise in cases in Gauteng province of South Africa where 90% of the people infected with Covid-19 in the last couple of weeks have tested positive for Omicron. The reason that it has alarmed the whole world is because of the fact that it has risen so sharply to suggest that it is for more transmissible than the Delta variant. Last week, the variant was also detected in Hong Kong, Belgium, Israel, UK and other countries, leading to a ban in many countries on flights from African countries and Hong Kong.
Once it has entered the body, Omicron uses human genetic material to multiply itself to infect other humans through a chain of transmission, thus making it more infectious. When a new variant can evade such previously acquired immunity, it largely increases the chances of transmissions. The initial studies suggest a large number of mutations of the variant in immunocompromised people, therefore making it imperative to priorities safety precautions for the elderly, children and people with underlying conditions.
While there are a lot of questions and concerns on the severity of the impact of this new variant, it is very early to give definite answers, as data is still being collected from different countries to assess the infectivity and virulence, and laboratory studies are being conducted to evaluate the ability of the variant to evade the immunity gained from vaccination or natural infection.
The President of Public Health Foundation of India, an epidemiologist has suggested the new mantra to now be MVVT which includes Masks, Ventilation, Vaccines and Testing. Masks have been recognised to effectivity protect against the transmission of Covid-19, while ventilation helps in mitigating the risks of the super-spreader effect. Vaccinations are important to develop immunity against the virus, even if it is only to reduce the severity. We need to exhibit discipline in our efforts to curb the transmission in a sustained manner for a considerable period of time to see actual results.
Nirvana Being, India’s leading clean air solutions business, offers an array of products that are essential for every individual in collectively reducing the chances of a third wave. These include certified N95 Masks with Nanofiber filters, tested by Nelson Labs, USA, for having >99% filtration efficacy for a particle size of 0.1 micron, the size of a COVID particle. While the virus may mutate, the good news is that the size of the virus particle does not change.
In these testing times, prepare for the worst and hope for the best, because we already know that - No One is Safe until Everyone is Safe!