The Director-General of the World Health Organization said on Monday that the situation in India, where the epidemic has reached an unprecedented severity, is “more than heartbreaking”.
“L’OMS fait tout ce qu’elle peut, en fournissant du matériel et des équipements essentiels, notamment des milliers de concentrateurs d’oxygene, des hôpitaux de campagne mobiles préfabriqués et du matériel de laboratoire”, a affirmé Tedros Adesheom Gene Press Conference.
In a few days, the “Indian” alternative plunged the country of 1.3 billion into chaos, prompting many countries to declare emergency aid. India on Sunday set a world record of nearly 350,000 people infected in one day.
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In the capital, New Delhi, witnesses described hospital corridors filled with beds, stretchers, and families begging in vain for oxygen or a place for their loved ones. Some die on the doorstep of the hospital.
“The World Health Organization has redeployed more than 2,600 personnel to support the response in the field, to provide support for surveillance activities, technical advice and vaccination efforts,” said Dr. Tedros.
He added, “The importance of vaccination was not so clear before.”
The World Health Organization also indicated in an e-mail to Agence France-Presse that it is conducting a rapid analysis of the situation in areas facing an escalation in cases, providing recommendations and supporting the implementation of these measures.
The Indian health system is mired in a new wave of infections that are partly attributable to the “Indian” variant, called the lineage, B.1.617. It qualifies as a “double mutant” because it is particularly a carrier of two annoying mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein that is the origin of the Covid-19 epidemic.
The first, E484Q, is close to that already observed on the South African and Brazilian variants (E484K), suspected to cause decreased vaccination efficacy and increased risk of reinfection. The second, L452R, is also present in a variant that was monitored in California, and may be able to induce an increase in transmission. This is the first time that they have been spotted together on a variant with a high prevalence.
“Due to its heavy circulation and concerns about its spread and its neutralization,” the WHO has classified it as a “variable of interest,” but the organization believes that more data is needed to determine if it is a “different type of concern.”