Recent horrific scenes of India’s increasing coronavirus cases shocked many people across the world shocking. The disease outbreak in the country came very quickly; the number of deaths and injuries sharply increased proves it is not just a domestic crisis for India alone, but one that involves the entire world.
“The virus doesn’t know borders, nationalities, age, gender or religion, and what’s happening now in India, unfortunately, went on in other countries,” said Dr Sumiya Swaminathan, WHO Chief Scientist.
The epidemic has revealed how connected the planet is. If a rustic features a high rate of infection, it is possible that it is going to spread to other countries. One of the most worrying facts is that the infection could still spread even if travel bans, multiple tests, and quarantine are in place. If a traveller returns from an area where the virus is active, there is a high chance of transmission.
However, another concern about India’s high infection rates is the fear of a replacement strain that has emerged within the country, referred to as B.1.617. Some have called it a “double mutant” because it combines two different mutations. Some laboratory evidence indicates it is more vulnerable to spread, even if to a little degree, and antibodies may find it difficult to confront. However, scientists are still assessing the size of the virus’s immunity decline.
“I do not believe there is any proof that it is a strain that circumvents the system,” Jeff Barrett, director of the Covid-19 Genome Initiative at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, told BBC News. “I think we’ve to observe that closely. In any case, there’s no reason to worry now,” he added.
Unfortunately, the greater the number of cases of Covid infections in a country, the greater the likelihood of mutation because every infection gives the virus a chance to evolve (a concern that threatens the vaccines’ efficiency).
Professor Sharon Peacock, Director of the Genome Consortium in the UK, explains that stopping the virus’ reproduction in our bodies is the best way to control new strains and limit the spread of the disease worldwide.
Lockdowns and social distancing measures will achieve that, but vaccination is crucial too.
“We actually need to double the vaccination as soon as possible,” Swaminathan says, “Otherwise, the virus will attempt to do everything in its power to stay spreading from one person to a different.”
In general, there are not many signs that the spread of the epidemic is receding because it keeps devastating one country after another.
The situation in India may be a grim reminder that many will not survive and be safe unless most are supported.