Masks May Never Go, warns ICMR chief Balram Bhargava
"We don't know how much of the population we'll have to vaccinate to break the virus transmission," ICMR Chief, Balram Bhargava said.
New Delhi: Days after two vaccines were approved under restricted use and emergency use authorization by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Dr Balram Bhargava, Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), on Sunday said masks may never go out of regular usage.
"I think it's a great day for India, it's a great day for humanity at large. Two vaccines have been approved under restricted use and emergency use authorisation and it has been done following discussions by SEC. This is wonderful news for India and all of us," Bhargava told ANI.
However, he said that it is unknown how long a vaccine is going to be effective. "We don't know how much of the population we'll have to vaccinate to break the virus transmission. What we know is that we've been able to control the pandemic in the country by following COVID-19 appropriate behavior... I am of the opinion that masks will probably be the last to go and probably may never even go."
Talking about the new variant of Crornavirus creating 'havoc' in the UK, the ICMR chief informed that scientists of the National Institute of Virology (NIV) have successfully isolated the new virus strain and it will be tested against different vaccines soon.
"New virus variant which is now more than 60 percent infective and creating havoc in the UK, is worrisome. There are 29 patients in India with the same variant for which we should be cautious. We were able to isolate the new virus very early," he stated.
"NIV scientists have successfully isolated the new virus strain and this will be tested against different vaccines," he said and added that he hopes "potentially Bharat Biotech vaccine will have some advantages over other vaccines on this new strain because it is a whole virus."
ICMR on Saturday said India has successfully isolated and cultured the UK-variant of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease. It is to mention that no other country has yet reported successful isolation and culture of the UK-variant of SARS-CoV-2 and added that vero cell lines of the virus were used by the scientists of ICMR-NIV to culture the UK-variant of the virus.
COVID-19 vaccines of Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech have been granted permission for restricted use in an emergency situation, said Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on Sunday.
Notably, COVAXIN is an indigenously developed coronavirus vaccine manufactured by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the ICMR.