As India fights tooth and nail with the second wave of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, an alarming news came from the top scientific advisor to Indian govt who said that the third wave is ‘inevitable’ and how the govt should be prepared for it.

The warning came during a Ministry of Health Affairs press briefing where Dr. K. Vijay Raghavan said how the second wave of the COVID-19 virus came with a “ferocity” which “was not predicted”.

Vaccines should be updated for the new virus strains

Dr. Raghavan also in a warning to vaccine makers said how the vaccines would need to be “updated” to continue showing efficacy against the new strains of the virus that have been the cause of contagion on India.

“Vaccines are effective against current variants. New variants will arise all over the world and in India too but variants that increase transmission will likely plateau. Immune evasive variants and those which lower or increase disease severity will arise going ahead,” said the Principal Advisor to the Centre Dr. K. Vijay Raghavan.

He further added that the variants are transmitted the way the original strain was transmitted. Dr. Raghavan explained the process in a layman’s terms and explained how a virus is transmitted by making entry in a human body, making copies and continuing to do so.

But the most alarming piece of information came when Dr. Raghavan said how the third wave of the pandemic is inevitable.

Third Wave Inevitable

“A phase three is inevitable, given the higher levels of circulating virus but it is not clear on what time scale this phase three will occur. We should prepare for new waves,” cautioned Dr. Raghavan.

Here are other takeaways from the press briefing

1) When asked about a Nationwide Lockdown

When asked about a nationwide lockdown being the only solution to curb the spread, NITI Aayog Member and Chief of National Expert Group of Vaccines V.K. Paul, said how the states are given guidelines to impose lockdown-like restrictions to curb the transmission.

2) 12 states with more than 1 lakh active cases

Lav Agarwal, Health Ministry secretary in the press briefing said how the country is witnessing an initial trend of case decline. Currently 12 states have more than 1 lakh active cases with 7 states having 50,000-1-lakh active cases and the remaining states having less than 50,000 active cases. Agarwal said how the daily growth is at 2.4 %.

3) 6.7 lakh people from 18-44 vaccinated

After various states raised alarming calls of vaccine shortage there are states where the process of vaccination of those between 18-44 has initiated. So far as many as 6.71 lakh individuals from that particular age has been administered the first jab of the vaccine.

4) Increase in Deaths

Agarwal also briefly touched on the fact that the country is witnessing an increase in deaths due to COVID-19. States like Maharashtra, Delhi, Haryana, Karnataka have been reporting more death cases than before. It should be noted that May 4th was the deadliest day since the beginning of the pandemic as the country registered highest number of deaths at 3,786 people dying.

5) Scientists working on new variants

In the press briefing it was also mentioned that scientists across the word are working round the clock to understand the current strains of viruses and anticipate the new mutations. These scientists are working under an intense research program where they are developing early warning tools, etc.

6) UK Variant Transmission on Decline

According to Health Ministry, the UK variant (B.1.1.7) is on a decline but the double mutant strain (B1.617) has been recorded in patients from Maharashtra.

7) Transmission only human-to-human

In a sigh of relief to pet owners and those who manage animals of all kinds who suspected that the disease may be transmitted through animals, the Niti Aayog’s chief Dr. V.K. Paul said that the virus is not spreading through animals but it’s a human-to-human transmission.