Omicron India seeks to stay clear of

Omicron India seeks to stay clear of “pandemic roulette.”: It’s a hectic moment for the National Institute of Virology (NIV), located in the western part of Pune, the oldest DNA sequencing laboratory.

To limit the spreading of the Omicron variant, labs such as NIV are working around all hours to find those who could be affected by it.

Each day, it receives around 100 nasal and throat samples sealed in small containers. This is five times more samples than the tests it conducted before the omicron variant – first identified within South Africa and now spreading all over the world – was discovered.

In an airtight room, they are unlocked by scientists wearing protective clothing, and the process of identifying the virus starts. The sample is marked with a code so that the researchers cannot locate the pieces they’re testing.

“There’s a lot of pressure on us at the moment to complete the task quickly. However, we must be careful, and it’s not a quick procedure,” says Dr. Varsha Potdar, who is a senior scientist and group director at NIV. The phone never stops ringing.

It takes a long time to prepare the sample for the model to be fed to the sequencing machine. It was purchased in March of this year, at the epidemic’s beginning. 

The engine produces data compared with an application program to the Covid-19 virus first discovered in Wuhan, China. This informs scientists about what variant was detected.

Warnings about the 3rd wave

In the second wave earlier the same year, India was criticized for not informing the world early enough about Delta that quickly became the predominant version across the globe. So what’s changed since the second wave?

“We’ve learned many things from this,” says Dr. Priya Abraham, director of NIV. “We are aware that the longer we allow a virus to be spread, the higher likelihood we are to be faced with a new strain. As a result, I believe we can be more proactive in the coming days and better prepared.”

With the large population of India size of India’s population, Dr. Abraham admits that there are limits.

“We’re far from advanced nations like that of the UK as well as the USA; however, I believe we’ve gotten ahead in a significant way. But, remember, we have to convey that, in conjunction with these measures, everyone should be vigilant,” she says.

“I believe that a third wave will become depending on how welcoming we make it. If there’s an increase in vaccine hesitancy and there are large-scale gatherings in enclosed areas, then yes, the third wave is present.”

Over half of India’s population is entirely vaccine-free. This puts millions of people in danger. Moreover, doctors warn that should help an Omicron-fueled third wave strike medical facilities; they may be overwhelmed quickly.

“In this second round, capacity at hospitals did not just increase by a tiny amount but was surpassed by many times the amount it could be capable of. Therefore, even if there is the chance of a smaller third wave which I believe is possible, it will be a challenge for the health care system.” Says Dr. Swapneil Parikh. He is a doctor in Mumbai.

“And therefore, instead of asking if it’s going to occur or when it’s likely to occur, it’s better to focus on preparing ourselves to be ready.”

In the Holy Family hospital in Delhi, there has been an increase in the number of Covid cases over the last week, following months of no patients suffering from the infection admitted.

“There’s a feeling of anxiety and dread building up, and we’re going to be on the same route as we did in the previous wave,” said Dr. Sumit Ray, who is the head of the hospital.

“Some of them are double-vaccinated individuals who have been new infections, and it’s a good important to be extremely cautious about being sure you’re not getting vaccinated again.”

It was reported that the BBC went to the hospital amid the worst part of the second wave that hit in April. The hospital was overcrowded. They squeezed wheelchairs and trolleys into every available space to treat the most patients they could. They were forced to refuse patients.

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There was an acute shortage of oxygen throughout the entire city. While examining those in his intensive care unit, Dr. Ray made panicked phone calls to procure additional supplies.

In certain hospitals in Delhi and other parts of India, the patients were killed because oxygen levels were low.

Dr. Ray declared that the Indian government must improve its resource management and make it easier to move items when needed.

“People shouldn’t bone e required to move from hospital to another looking for beds. 

This is inhumane. There must be more coordination. I believe we’ve prepared n the right amount of time and it is now time to get this completed,” he said.

“You’re educated to help save people’s lives, and if you’re unable to do so because you don’t have enough resources, you get an uneasy feeling of being ineffective. It was the worst time that I’ve ever experienced as a doctor.”

The government claims it is making preparations. However, Dr. Parikh in Mumbai insists that more work needs to be completed.

“I believe we need to make sure that as many people get fully vaccinated as is possible. 

We should also begin distributing third doses to the older and vulnerable, including those who have a compromised immune system, and are healthcare professionals as well as frontline workers,” he added.

“In our nation, the country has played the pandemic roulette in the second wave, and we’ve lost. Therefore, this time, let’s play the opposite. Let’s over-prepared.”