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COVID-19 Will Become Endemic, India Will Continue To Have Cases: AIIMS Chief

Mumbai: In an important comment on the future course of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading medical expert and AIIMS New Delhi chief Randeep Guleria on Tuesday said the chances of India witnessing the third wave are very slim.

He predicted that COVID-19, like swine flu (H1N1), would become endemic and the disease would cyclically affect vulnerable and immune-suppressed populations, but would not acquire the same severe form as before.

Guleria, who is part of the National Task Force on COVID-19 guiding policy on vaccination and treatment of Sars-Cov 2, also said that there is currently no need for booster doses in India and people are being given are commenting.

“As the national Covid-19 vaccine programme moves forward with vaccines already holding up in preventing disease and death, the chances of having any huge wave are declining with each passing day. It is very unlikely that we will see the third wave. Covid-19 will become endemic and we will keep seeing cases. It will become like H1N1. People will get sick but the disease will not be of the magnitude we saw earlier,” Guleria said.

The AIIMS New Delhi Director said a booster dose isn’t needed at the moment.

“The way Covid 19 vaccines are coming – we are not seeing breakthrough infections, we have a high seropositivity rate and presence of antibodies. So far we don’t really need a booster dose. We are quite safe and we should focus on covering as many people as possible with the first and second doses. This is the way to get maximum protection from the disease,” Guleria said.

The leading expert also lauded India’s remarkable visit from 200 – when the country was dependent on WHO for H1N1 vaccines when the country was exporting COVID-19 vaccines.

“We last saw the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. We didn’t have a vaccine then. We had to depend on WHO for imports. There was a debate as to why the country was not making a vaccine. We have changed a lot since 2009 and are now exporting the COVID-19 vaccine to other countries. We have completed this journey,” Guleria said.

Meanwhile, India has reported 9,283 new COVID-19 cases and 437 deaths in the last 24 hours, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

India’s active caseload stood at 1,11,481, the lowest in 537 days, while the daily positivity rate stood at 0.80%.

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