WHO chief scientist says Vax masks the Almighty, not nightly curfews

Countries need to formulate science-based strategies to contain the spread of the virus and also find a balance to keep the economy open without causing a devastating impact on people, WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said on Friday. However, she stressed that night curfews were not “scientifically based” and had no evidence of effectiveness.

Speaking to CNBC-TV18, the WHO chief scientist said: “We have to be careful. We have to be prepared, but don’t panic. What we can expect in India is an increase in Omicron cases. I think it is just starting in some cities and will infect a lot of people. “

“Countries should look at their own data: dying people, what vaccine they took and how long they had it, which population group to target. This is how we get to know immunity. What we now know is that over time, the neutralizing antibody responses wear off after about 6 months, ”she said.

However, T cell immunity remains and this is very important. “We need clinical studies and not just laboratory studies. What WHO is really saying now is that our goals will stay the same. We have to save the weakest. Give them boosters. At the same time, however, we don’t have enough evidence that boosters are needed by the entire population. Because of this, WHO is calling for a science-based approach so that we can protect the most vulnerable but at the same time not deprive those who need the vaccine, the top scientist said.

Given India’s “precautionary doses” and the combination of vaccines to booster, she said it should be based on the data.

“So far we have not considered Corbevax in this mix-and-match or combination. There is data on Covavax that has been tested as a booster. Whether you take another shot of the same vaccine as a booster or give a different one, you will get a good booster. WHO said the vaccine you choose as a booster dose really depends on different things such as: B. what you have used in this country, what supplies are available, what is acceptable to the public, what the cost, etc. Boosters give a good boost to the immune response as the memory cells are activated. In fact, some studies have shown that it may be preferable to use a different vaccine as a booster. Given the data available, I think countries can formulate their own policies based on their immune response and the other factors such as cold storage and affordability. But I think India is in a good position in terms of the number of vaccines available, ”said Swaminathan.

She recommended closing educational institutions, saying, “Politicians need to start balancing the science-based method to reduce transmission and its impact on people while keeping the economy open as people have suffered enough. Schools should be the last to close and the first to open, because a prolonged school closure has devastating effects on children and education. “

“Entertainment venues are the places where these viruses spread the most. It goes without saying that we should introduce some restrictions. Now one really needs to take a really serious look at well aeration as it is an airborne virus. When you’re in a closed environment, especially a crowded place, and people aren’t masked, viruses spread. But for things like night curfew, there’s no science behind it. You have to take evidence-based action. There is a whole list of public health measures out there, ”she added.

Swaminathan reiterated the importance of masking, calling it the most efficient tool in fighting the pandemic.

“If 90% of the population wore a mask all the time, you would drastically reduce transmission. That we need to focus on. Remember that Covid is not the only thing that affects our lives in terms of health. There are people who die from non-contagious diseases like cancer because they couldn’t care for themselves in the midst of the pandemic. The stress on mental health increases. For the first time in many years, we’ve seen the number of tuberculosis deaths increase in the past year because detection levels have decreased. So we need to make sure we have people for basic health care, ”she said.

On Thursday, the chief scientist of the World Health Organization said on Thursday that the vaccinations appear to be protective, although the Omicron variant infects both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.

“The number of infections with omicrons is high and occurs in both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. But it seems that vaccines are proving protective. The need for intensive care does not seem to be increasing. It’s a good sign. Several factors are responsible for the effectiveness of the vaccine. One is the vaccine itself, the second is biological factors like age – the older you are, the more susceptible you are to the disease, and the third factor is decreased immunity, “said the top scientist.

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