Endemic Stage of COVID: The Chief Scientist of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr. Soumya Swaminathan recently said that COVID-19 in India may be entering the stage of endemicity where there is a low or moderate level of transmission going on.
Note: The endemic stage is when a population learns to live with a virus. It’s very different from the epidemic stage when the virus overwhelms a population.
- While talking about the clearance to India’s homegrown COVID-19 vaccine ‘COVAXIN’, she said that she is confident that the technical team of WHO will be satisfied to give clearance to be its authorized vaccines.
- In an interview with journalist Karan Thapar for the news website The Wire, she explained that given the size of India and the heterogeneity of the population and immunity status in various parts of the country, it is very feasible that the situation in India may continue like this with ups and downs in various parts of the country.
- She added that India may be entering the stage of endemicity where a moderate or low levels of transmission will continue to happen however, no exponential growth or peaks will be there.
- Dr. Swaminathan was hopeful that by the end of 2022, India may be in that position where 70% of vaccine coverage will have been achieved and then the nations can get back to normal.
COVID-19 among children:
- On the issue of the prevalence of COVID-19 among children, Dr. Swaminathan said that parents need not panic.
- She explained that, according to Sero Survey, it is possible that children can get infected and transmit.
- But they will be having mild illness most of the time.
- A very small percentage will get sick & inflammatory complications and few will die.
- But the number will be much less than the adult population.
- However, she further added that it is good to be prepared.
- Preparing hospitals for pediatric admissions, pediatric intensive care is going to serve India’s health system in many ways for other illnesses children that children have.
Can drugs be used for COVID-19 treatment?
- On the use of drugs like Remdesivir, HCQ, or Ivermectin for treatment, she stated that as of now there is no evidence of the role of Ivermectin or HCQ in reducing mortality or morbidity in people infected with the COVID-19 virus.
- These drugs also have no role in preventing infection.