Very unlikely for COVID-19 variants to evade all vaccines: NIBMG director Saumitra Das

With many countries trying to develop vaccination against the COVID-19, director of the Indian Institute of Biomedical Genomics Prof Saumitra Das on Thursday said that possibility of the virus causing covid to mutate to an extent that it starts evading all vaccines is "very unlikely".

According to India Today report, Prof Das said while there is evidence that the new variants of the virus are evading antibodies generated by vaccines, but it is very unlikely that the mutations will be such that the virus will evade all vaccines.

When asked if there is any conclusive evidence to suggest that the Delta and Delta Plus variants are evading vaccine-induced immunity, he said,"the scientific research does hint towards this fact because it has acquired immune escape properties similar to the variant that was seen in South Africa."

He further said, "At present, we don't have enough cases to say all breakthrough infections are happening because of these variants."

However he said that India is likely to have "enough data" on this by the next week.

"There are multiple epitopes. It is very unlikely that the virus will mutate to such an extent that it will evade all epitopes where vaccines work but studies are definitely going on to double-check if efficiency of vaccines is being compromised or not," he added.

India has so far genome sequenced around 45,000 samples and found 40 cases of the Delta Plus variant. According to Prof Das, the government is exploring if private laboratories can be roped in for genome sequencing.

The Centre on June 22 classified the Delta Plus variant as 'variant of concern'.

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