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Uncertainty over long-term COVID immune response can impact vaccines

According to the experts who wrote an editorial published in the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the uncertainty over the long-term immune response against the coronavirus can have implications on the efficacy of vaccines.

According to the authors, the health administration has to necessitate the use of masks and social distancing if research teams find a strong proof about the active role asymptomatic people play in the transmission of the disease.

The editorial titled ‘The enigmatic Covid-19 pandemic’ was written by Rajesh Bhatia, former director of Communicable Diseases for WHO’s South-East Asia Regional Office, and Priya Abraham, director of ICMR-National Institute of Virology.

It further stated that in the initial phase of the outbreak, the virus was presumed to be a non-relapsing disease.

“New studies suggest the possibility of repeated virologically confirmed infections. Confirmation of reactivation or reinfection and their epidemiological importance are awaited,” it said.

According to the authors, earlier studies had raised red flags on continuous susceptibility of the population to Covid-19 and inability to produce widespread immunity. Authors believe that it may contribute to a ‘second wave’ of cases.

“The role of reduced use of non-pharmaceutical interventions in facilitating a second wave as community engagement wanes, requires further investigation,” the experts said.

The editorial further explained that immunizing the entire population, prioritizing high risk segments, assuring quality in logistics and undertaking post-vaccination surveillance for adverse effects and impact on disease burden shall be huge challenges for any health system.

The authors believe that usual health services have become restricted because health facilities are overwhelmed with coronavirus patients.

Commenting on the multilateral organizations’ response to coronavirus, the authors wrote: “It is still not clear as to how the global community will make up for the pandemic-induced setback to its critical operations of major disease elimination programmes such as for tuberculosis.”

“These unknowns have made it an enigmatic pandemic till now,” the editorial said. – The Hindu BusinessLine

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