Tag Archives: Covishield

COVID19 Delta variant is 60% more transmissable than Alpha variant

Citing reports, Dr Chandrashekhar T. says this mutant has been responsible for several complications cropping up among patients even after recovery.

The Delta COVID19 variant is the new villain that has taken center stage. It is believed to be 60% more transmissible than the B.1.1.7 variant (or Alpha variant) and may be associated with an increased disease severity such as hospitalization risk. Several reports from across the country indicate that this mutant has been responsible for several complications cropping up among patients even after recovery. Here is what you know about the variant.

WHAT IS THE DELTA VARIANT? Variants are mutations of the Coronavirus. Scientists say viruses constantly mutate naturally as they replicate and circulate in their hosts. Sometimes these mutants disappear; other times, they persist. The Delta variant, known as B.1.617.2, is gaining ground worldwide and is said to have contributed to the country’s recent surge. Sometimes we can see a mutation in the mutated variant; this are called as double mutation.

According to WHO and CDC, the viruses prevalent in the United States, Europe, South America, and another part of Africa and the Asian region are of different mutants. The variant prevalent in the US is called Alfa, Beta, and Theta was prevalent in South America and Africa. Theta and Gamma were prevalent in European countries. Delta was prevalent in India and Asia by large, which has now spread to other nations too. Kappa variant was prevalent in Australia. Now, people should know that the Delta wave hasn’t come in the second wave only. It was there in the first wave as well. However, Coronavirus is an RNA virus and is in constant mutation with increasing transmissibility and virulence.

HOW DANGEROUS IS THE DELTA VARIANT? To begin with, it is important to know what variants of concern (VOC) are. There is evidence of an increase in transmissibility, more severe disease, significant reduction in neutralization by antibodies generated during previous infection or vaccination, reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines, or diagnostic detection failures are termed as VOC.

The Delta variant was under investigation/variant of Interest (VOI) even in the first wave, as it was termed as the variant of concern by the WHO. Therefore, WHO, ICMR, and other government agencies in India are closely watching its mutations. Therefore, the Delta virus falls under the category of a variant of concern as it is more transmittable, more virulent, and causes many complications.

HOW DOES THE DELTA VIRUS IMPACT HUMAN HEALTH? Now, we all know that COVID19 can cause multiple problems in the body. First is the clotting problem causing a brain stroke or a heart attack or a particular vessel getting blocked, causing gangrene of the limbs, legs, or hands or blood clots causing pulmonary embolism or even gangrene in the intestine. 

Apart from blood clots in the arteries of limbs, heart, and brain, COVID19 patients are coming with intestinal clots that are causing gangrene of the GI. Similarly, clotting can cause pancreatitis as well.

The other problem is the inflammation problem called that Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome. This causes symptoms including fever or Hypothermia, Tachycardia, Tachypnoea, and a change in blood leucocyte count. Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS) is another issue. CRS occurs when the immune system responds too aggressively to an infection. It causes a variety of symptoms, including fever, headaches, and nausea.

IS VACCINATION MY ANSWER? Yes, the vaccines available to us in our country — Covishield, Covaxin, and Sputnik put up a good defence against this variant and hold an excellent efficacy rate. So, you might wonder if vaccines work, then what is the problem. The problem is that not everybody has been vaccinated. And the variant is at its peak when the rate of vaccinations nationally has slowed down. The vaccination program will soon ramp up. Apart from this, staying at home and following all necessary COVID19 safety protocols — social distancing, wearing a mask, and hand hygiene are essential.

(Dr Chandrashekhar T. is Chief Intensivist, Fortis Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi)

COVID19 vaccination: 20 points to keep in mind

Go ahead and get the jab for yourself and your loved ones, says Dr Rahul Pandit

New Delhi, March 13, 2021: We have entered the second phase of the world’s largest immunization program. However, several looming questions could hamper the success of this program and weaken the fight against COVID19.

Only people who have an Anaphylaxis (allergic reaction) to any of the vaccine contents, should NOT take the vaccine.

Yes, vaccination is the most effective tool to fight the COVID19 pandemic, and help us succeed in our mission to restore normalcy! Having said that, the COVID19 vaccination drive in India has seen much momentum since day one. With an enthusiastic push from the civic bodies, we are slowly but steadily approaching our target goals. After successful round of vaccination for the healthcare providers and frontline workers, we have now moved to vaccinate and protect seniors above 60 years of age, and those above 45 years with comorbidities.

Here’s a guideline to help proceed with vaccinating yourself and your loved ones:

1.       All adults should take the COVID19 vaccine and encourage others to take it as well.

2.       You should have had your meals, and be well hydrated for your vaccination.

3.       Only people who have an Anaphylaxis (allergic reaction) to any of the vaccine contents, should NOT take the vaccine.

4.       All approved vaccines including Covishield and Covaxin have:

  • 100% efficacy in preventing death due to COVID19
  • Very high efficacy against severe COVID19
  • High to moderate efficacy (60%-95%) against symptomatic COVID19
  • Poor efficacy only against asymptomatic COVID19

5.       Vaccinating the high-risk vulnerable population – above 60 yrs and above 45 yrs with co-morbidities will bring down the mortality rate to ‘very low’, as currently, this group forms almost 90% of patients who succumb to the disease. Therefore, we must encourage people in these age groups to be vaccinated.

People with previous COVID19 infection should take the vaccine only after 8-12 weeks of recovery from COVID 19.

6.       People with previous COVID19 infection should take the vaccine only after 8-12 weeks of recovery from COVID 19.

7.       A person who has received Plasma Therapy to treat a previous COVID19 infection should wait for 8-12 weeks before taking the vaccine.

8.       Vaccine is safe in patients with hypertension, diabetes, renal failure, and heart disease, amongst those who have undergone bypass, post-angiography, and those on dialysis.

9.       In pregnant women, if the benefit outweighs the risks of the vaccine, then you may take the vaccine. For example, a frontline pregnant worker should take the vaccine.

10.   There is no data on how long pregnancy should be avoided post-vaccination. However, as it is an inactivated or dead virus it should be safe after 6-8 weeks of vaccination to conceive.

People on anti-platelet agents like Aspirin and Clopidogrel
should take the vaccine without stopping their medication.

11.   Vaccine is safe amongst those with a food allergy, drug allergy (other than the vaccine components) and common allergic conditions such as asthma, allergic rhinitis and allergic dermatitis. But consult your doctor before enrolling yourself.

12.   People on anti-platelet agents like Aspirin and Clopidogrel should take the COVID19 vaccine without stopping their medication.

13.   Patients on blood thinners like Warfarin or newer anticoagulation agents have a small risk of injection site swelling. Patients who are on these newer agents can skip their morning dose, take the vaccine and continue the next regular dose.

14.   Patients with neurological complications like stroke, Parkinson’s, dementia should take the vaccine as it is safe for them.

15.   Patients on immunosuppressant’s (i.e. patients who’ve undergone organ transplants) of any type can safely take the vaccine. However, immune response may not be complete. Check with your doctor before enrolling.

A simple Paracetamol can be taken post-vaccination if required, and most symptoms would be well controlled.

16.   It is false that alcohol is not allowed post-vaccine or that vaccine causes impotency or that vaccine will change the DNA of a person.

17.   There are currently no trials available on children, hence vaccination for those below 18 years can be delayed for now.

18.   Patients with cancer and those undergoing Chemotherapy should consult their doctor and seek an appropriate window for vaccination between the Chemotherapy cycles. Ideally, the patient should wait for at least four weeks post-chemotherapy to take their vaccine.

19.   Fever, body ache, dizziness, headaches are common symptoms post-vaccination.

20.   A simple Paracetamol can be taken post-vaccination if required, and most symptoms would be well controlled.

Do not believe in rumours, the best way to get the right information is to speak to doctors at medical centres who are offering the COVID19 vaccination. Remember, vaccine-induced immunity is as important as herd immunity. It is the current and the only way to tackle the growing menace of the virus. Let’s all come together to fight back and end the pandemic once and for all.

(The article has been authored by Dr Rahul Pandit, Director-Critical Care, Fortis Hospitals Mumbai & Member-Maharashtra’s COVID Taskforce) 

(Images from Pixabay by Wilfried PohnkeGerd AltmannAlexandra_Koch; fernando zhiminaicela)

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