October 24, 2021


From native P.o.V.

Zhang Wenhong predicted that a bigger outbreak in India is still ahead

4 min read

In the past few days, India has encountered “the darkest hour.” According to the latest statistics released by India’s health department, India’s new confirmed cases are constantly breaking the new high since the outbreak and also set the world record of new confirmed cases in a single day in the world. In less than a month, why did the epidemic situation in India deteriorate sharply?
In this regard, Professor Zhang Wenhong, director of the infection department of Huashan Hospital, explained that there was a “double mutation” in the epidemic virus strain in India. Still, it was not the reason that the epidemic was completely out of control.

at present, life-saving people are most short of oxygen

Zhang Wenhong introduced that the double mutant strain of b.1.617 in India was detected in October 2020, and it was called the “double mutant” virus strain because it contained mutations of e484q and l452r on S protein. Among the mutants in India, the proportion of b.1.617 was higher than that of b.1.1.7 and b.1.351. B. 617 has increased significantly since April, accounting for more than 70%. At present, many countries have banned flights to India. As of April 20, 2021, the double mutation of b.1.617 has been detected in more than 20 countries, but no outbreak similar to India has occurred in other countries. According to the epidemic trend indicated by genomic data, the transmissibility of b.1.617 (Indian mutant) is similar to that of b.1.1.7 (British mutant) and higher than that of b.1.351 (South African mutant).

Since April 16th, the number of deaths per day in India has exceeded 1300, reaching a new high in the daily death toll of COVID-19. The trend is corresponding to the gradual increase in the proportion of B.1.617 in India. The daily death toll rose to nearly 2000 around April 25. As the number of confirmed cases has increased rapidly in the short term, India had encountered Italy’s problem last year: Medical runs, Mr. Zhang said. When the oxygen supply can’t keep up, many young patients may die. Originally, they only need a mouthful of oxygen to survive. What India needs most at present is oxygen, which is better than any medicine and can reduce the mortality of young patients.

In fact, novel coronavirus pneumonia is characterized by hypoxia. When the lung inflammation is serious to a certain extent, the oxygen concentration in the blood is low. It will show hypoxia and even respiratory failure. Oxygen should be said to be one of the most basic means of treatment. But now, India’s extreme “hypoxia” is bound to lead to many patients who can not survive.

the vaccine is effective on the mutant strain

Can India gain mass immunization through pandemic? As of April 24, 2021, according to official data, India’s cumulative infection rate was 1.16%, Zhang Wenhong said on his microblog on April 25. It is estimated that it will take decades to reach 70% of the population’s immunity level, and at least millions of people will die. If we come to this stage today, the government will surely be held accountable by the people, and there is great uncertainty in the follow-up situation in India.

Is the Indian epidemic a sign of vaccine failure? This “pot” vaccine, of course, is not back. Zhang Wenhong said that the study found that although the neutralization activity of b.1.617 in serum samples from local vaccinations and convalescent patients decreased by about two times, they were still effective against the mutant. At present, although the total amount of vaccination in India is second only to that in the United States and China, due to the large population base, the proportion of single-dose vaccination is 8.0%, and the proportion of vaccination is low, which can not stop the spread of the epidemic at present.

In addition, the reporter inquired about foreign reports and learned that due to the vaccination policy of the Indian government in the early stage, the vaccination coverage of young people was less. Young people are in the “blind area” of vaccination in India, which has become another weak point in blocking the spread of the epidemic. Indian officials said that compared with last year, the current wave of epidemic in India is characterized by rapid spread, more asymptomatic infections, and more young people infected.

it is predicted that it will reach the peak in the next month

Zhang Wenhong also said that in March this year, India’s social control relaxed, held various traditional culture festivals many times, and completely abandoned the measures of maintaining social distance. Moreover, when the epidemic broke out, the government was not active enough to deal with the epidemic. Even now, it is too late to speed up vaccination, and a bigger outbreak is still behind. Only by adopting stringent public health measures, the government’s resolute and correct response, and the people’s good cooperation can we tide over the current crisis.

The Indian government predicts that the epidemic will peak in mid-May, with 500000 new confirmed cases per day. Until then, the pressure on India’s health care system will only grow. At present, the world is paying attention to the trend of the epidemic in India. I hope that the Indian people will get out of the shadow of the epidemic as soon as possible, and reflecting on the process of the epidemic will help us realize the importance of epidemic prevention again.

(Zuo Yan, chief reporter of Xinmin Evening News)

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