Watch on a highly infective, new AY.1 variant: VK Paul

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 15, 2021

VK Paul, Chairman, National Empowered Group on Vaccination   -  The Hindu

The government today sounded an alert on a new Covid-19 variant, AY.1 that is closely related to the Delta variant. AY.1, or B.1.617.2.1, has a mutation, K147N, which has been asssociated with the Beta variant, first identified in South Africa, and that is linked to high infectivity.

“This was first identified in March in Europe but brought into the public domain only two days ago,” said VK Paul, Chairman, National Empowered Group on Vaccination, in a press conference on Tuesday. “Yes, a new variant has been found. It's not yet a Variant of Concern, or one which has adverse consequences to humanity. We don’t know much about this yet and are studying it including the prevalence in India.”

Paul also said that controlling the chain of transmission is the only solution to curtail the spread, which can be done by setting up containment zones, isolation of infected people and adopting Covid-appropriate behaviour.

SII to make Novavax jabs

Turning to vaccines, Paul said that Serum Institute of India is preparing to manufacture Novavax’s Covid-19 jab in India and its results are very promising.

“This vaccine will be produced in India, preparatory work has already been done by SII with the original company. This vaccine will be produced in very large quantities. Another vaccine on the horizon,” Paul said, adding that the vaccine wassafe and more than “90 per cent effective from what we have heard”.

Probe on into deaths

Earlier, denying media reports that 488 deaths occurred during January 16-June 7 on account of post-Covid complications despite vaccination, the Health Ministry said an investigation is on into these fatalities, and that the media reports are based on incomplete and limited understanding of the matter.

It further stated that deaths, hospitalisation or events causing disability following any vaccination are categorised as serious or severe cases and are to be investigated at the district level. Therefore, any death or hospitalisation following vaccination cannot be automatically assumed to be due to vaccination unless investigated by the AEFI (Adverse Event Following Immunization) Committees at the district, State and national levels.

The Government said that the number of deaths reported following Covid vaccination is 0.0002 per cent of the 23.5 crore doses administered which is within acceptable levels.

Published on June 15, 2021

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