India Says New COVID-19 Variant Of Concern – National – .

India Says New COVID-19 Variant Of Concern – National – .

India said on Tuesday that a new variant of the coronavirus was of concern and said nearly two dozen cases had been detected in three states.

The variant, locally identified as “Delta plus,” was found in 16 cases in the state of Maharashtra, Federal Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said at a press conference.

The ministry said Delta plus had shown increased transmissibility and advised states to increase testing.

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India vaccinated a record 8.6 million people on Monday as it began offering free vaccines to all adults, but experts doubted it could maintain that pace.

“This is clearly not sustainable,” Chandrakant Lahariya, an expert in public policies and health systems, told Reuters.

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“With such day trips, many states have consumed most of their current vaccine stocks, which will affect immunization in the days to come. “

With the vaccine supply currently planned for the next few months, the maximum achievable daily rate is 4 to 5 million doses, Lahariya added.

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The effort has so far covered around 5.5% of the 950 million eligible people, even though India is the world’s largest vaccine producer.

A devastating second wave in April and May overwhelmed health services, killing hundreds of thousands of people. Images of funeral pyres blazing in parking lots have raised questions about the chaotic vaccine rollout.

Since May, vaccinations have averaged less than 3 million doses per day, far fewer than the 10 million health officials say are crucial in protecting the millions of people vulnerable to further outbreaks.

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Especially in the countryside, where two-thirds of a population of 1.4 billion live and where the health system is often overloaded, motivation has weakened, according to experts.

Keeping up the pace will prove difficult when it comes to injecting young people into these areas, Delhi-based epidemiologist Rajib Dasgupta said.

The capital is also facing difficulties. Authorities in New Delhi have said more than 8 million people have yet to receive a first dose and that inoculation of all adults there will take more than a year at the current rate.

India administers the AstraZeneca vaccine, made locally by the Serum Institute of India, and a local vaccine called Covaxin made by Bharat Biotech.

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Last week, the Serum Institute announced plans to increase monthly production to around 100 million doses from July. Bharat now estimates that he will do 23 million doses per month.

On Tuesday, the CNBC-TV18 channel reported that phase 3 data for Covaxin showed 77.8% effectiveness.

India may also soon mass deploy Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, and the government plans to import vaccines this year from major manufacturers such as Pfizer.

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Although new infections in India have fallen to their lowest level in more than three months, experts say vaccinations should be stepped up due to the transmissibility of new variants.

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In the past 24 hours, India reported 42,640 new infections, the lowest since March 23, and 1,167 deaths.

Infections now stand at 29.98 million, with a death toll of 389,302, according to data from the Ministry of Health.

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