Very large number of Indians may be protected from Omicron

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the Omicron variant of Coronavirus could become a threat to the world. With this, all the countries are preparing to impose restrictions on international travel yet again.

Eminent virologist Dr Shahid Jameel, who is the former head of the advisory group to the Indian SARS-COV-2 Genomics Consortia (INASACOG), however, said that the vast majority of our country’s population is likely to be protected from Omicron as well as other variants. He said there is no need to panic, especially with the Omicron variant.

“While we should be cautious, there is no need to panic. India’s second wave due to the Delta variant was huge, affecting more people than we assumed. This is shown in the fourth National Sero-survey that revealed 67 per cent of Indians to have Covid antibodies. That is about 930-940 million people at a time when the vaccination levels were very low, and so it came mainly from infection,” he told PTI in an interview.

“More recently, Delhi showed 97 per cent with antibodies, Mumbai around 85-90 per cent and so on. All this means that a very large fraction of Indians will be protected from severe disease caused by Omicron or any other variant,” Jameel said.

Shahid Jameel said more information is needed to understand the extent to which vaccines are effective in combating Omicron, which has become a worrying variant. This may take another two to three weeks. He assured that vaccines would definitely protect against particularly severe diseases.

Responding to a question on whether India is ready to face the Omicron variant, Shahid Jameel suggested that people should wear masks and the government should intensify vaccination.

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