The next two or three weeks will tell us how the Omicron variant plays on factors such as transmissibility, immunity leakage and severity, Dr Randeep Guleria, director of the All India Institute of Medical Science, said on Sunday ( AIIMS), New Delhi. He said, however, that vaccines could be modified to provide protection against new emerging variants of the SARS-CoV2 virus.
Guleria was speaking at the 22nd Dr VS Prayag-2021 Memorial Prayer jointly organized by the Medical Association of India and the family of Dr Shirish Prayag at the Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration (YASHADA). Besides Dr RR Gangakhedkar, former epidemiologist of the ICMR, several renowned doctors were congratulated on this occasion.
In his ‘Covid 19 and Lungs – Lessons Learned and Way Forward’ speech, Dr Guleria said the current batch of vaccines can be changed so that they can offer protection against the new variants of concern. “The production of a new influenza vaccine each year demonstrates that it is possible to adapt existing vaccines to deal with viral mutations,” said the expert.
Even though immunologists are concerned about the likelihood of emerging mutations that could make vaccines less effective, the problem can be addressed by fine-tuning vaccines, he said. Focusing on the challenge of equity in vaccines, he said there was a need to ensure that rich and poor countries had enough doses.
There have been several zoonotic infections, including outbreaks of bird flu, H1N1 pandemic, and Ebola, Zika and Nipah, in the recent past. The reasons, according to Dr. Guleria, for the increase in these infectious diseases were the increase in travel, trade and connectivity, increasing urbanization and encroachment on a new environment.
“The whole concept of ‘One Health’ becomes very important, in which the animal and human sectors work together to protect health and ensure food safety and security,” he said. “We need to work on solutions at the local and global levels to prevent future pandemics bearing in mind the interconnection of human and animal health, the interconnection of humans and the ecosystem, and the interconnection animal health and ecosystem, ”he added.
On this occasion, Dr Parikshit Prayag, expert in infectious diseases at Deenanath Mangeshkar hospital, also strongly pleaded for a booster dose of the Covid vaccine.
Earlier, the event started with a diabetes symposium. Dr AG Unnikrishnan and Dr Suhas Erande gave lectures.
The 7th API Quest, a quiz for postgraduate medical residents, was conducted during the event. No less than 31 teams from different cities of Maharashtra including Mumbai, Aurangabad, Latur, Miraj and Pune participated in the event led by quiz master Dr Nilima Mane. The team from the Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC), Pune, won the first prize. The event was organized under the leadership of Dr AL Kakrani, Dr Suresh Shinde, Dr DB Kadam and Dr Mukund Penurkar from API, Pune.