Shalini Bhardwaj was written by Shalini Bhardwaj
Washington, DC - January 16 ANI As India achieved the milestone of cumulative vaccine coverage of 156 crores on the first anniversary of the nationwide COVID 19 vaccination drive that started on January 16, 2021, Dr Kutub Mahmoood, Scientist and Virologist from Washington, DC told ANI that vaccination is the strongest weapon and that the pandemic can't go on forever and its end is pretty near, according to Dr Kutub Mahmoood, scientist and virologist from Washington, DC.
This can't go on forever, and that end is pretty soon. I would say there is no winner in this game of chess, this is going to be a draw, where the virus will go in hiding and we may come out of hiding behind our facemask. We hope to move forward, I think we are getting very close to that. As we move forward in the year, I hope that we'll come out of the pandemic very soon," Kutub told ANI.
There is a pressure on the virus to adapt to changing immunity in humans and then it tries to make these mutants so that it can escape. This is like a game, like a chess game, I would say as an analogy between the human and the virus. That virus is putting out its moves, we humans are putting out our moves. We have small moves, which are the facemask, hand sanitisers, social distancing. We have weapons that we have used against the virus with the vaccines, the antivirals, and the antibodies, said Dr Kutub.
He appreciated India for reaching 60 per cent vaccination within a year.
This is a great achievement for the country and the vaccine manufacturers in India. Indian vaccines are used in a number of countries around the world. This time last year, we were just in the process of getting these vaccines approved by the Indian DCGI for emergency use and in 12 months we have achieved almost 60 per cent vaccination, a huge achievement for the Indian Government, Ministry of Health and vaccine manufacturers, said the virologist.
He said that if there are any certain mutants coming in, we will not be surprised. I think we should be able to contain it with vaccinations and the key is to get vaccinated again. If the population is vaccinated, that would be my strong message, to get those vaccines and boosters so that they are protected against any of these variants. There are some cases where there are reinfections and that are particularly in immune-compromised subjects that have other medical preconditions, as a result of the surge in coronaviruses cases in India and abroad, as well as the spread of the Omicron variant, Dr Kutub said. We can have boosters to contain the virus in those immune-compromised cases. Speaking on various studies that suggest that T cells play an important role in fighting off viruses, Dr Kutub stated that T cells are important, especially the helper T cells and the establishment of helper T cells in the subject, because these T cells can help B cells to make the antibody, and it is important that we establish a good cellular immunity with the current with the current vaccine that we have. Covaxin manufacture has said that its booster is 90 per cent effective against Omicron. Dr Kutub said India's unique product Covaxin, made by Bharat Biotech, has also shown safety in 2 year-old children.
Covaxin is inactivated and this is the traditional way to make the vaccine to grow the virus and in a traditional sense that would be my first approach in making the vaccine and Covaxin, an indigenous strain from India and manufactured by the Indian company, said the vitologist.