The numbers for Covid-19 in India have plummeted. A third wave is still looming. – .

India remains vulnerable to Covid-19 despite falling numbers – .

In the state of Maharashtra, one of the first places affected by the devastating second wave of Covid-19 in India earlier this year, scientists are eagerly looking for signs of a third.

New labs in the financial capital, Mumbai, and the city of Pune are looking for dangerous new variants. They have stepped up testing, to more than 3,600 samples per month from 134 in December last year, as they look for mutations that could make the virus even more difficult to stop.

India is still a long way from its goal of increasing genome sequencing nationwide. As Covid-19 cases and deaths have plunged, official figures show the virus continues to spread in parts of the country. Low vaccination rates and other factors have made India particularly vulnerable to variants like Delta, the strain that helped fuel India’s second wave last spring.

“We have to follow new variants to prepare for the next wave, because the waves will continue to occur, much like the flu or the common cold, which continue to reproduce because the virus mutates or recombines,” said the Dr Vinod Scaria, Principal Scientist at the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in New Delhi. “You can’t really prevent this. But you can still prepare for it.


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