The Delta variant of COVID19 has now spread across the globe and many other variants of interest have been flagged by World Health Organization (WHO), against which vaccines may not be effective if these variants become dominant, such as the Mu variant. The trajectory of Delta in major developed countries has itself raised questions about the efficacy of m-RNA vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna.
A UK study consisting of a vast data set of 2,580,021 PCR tests between December 2020 and May 2021, analyzing both Alpha and Delta strains, concluded that while vaccines are effective against Delta after two doses, the protection they offer wanes with time. For example, in a case study, the Pfizer vaccine’s effectiveness fell from 92% to 90%, 85% and 78% after 30, 60 and 90 days, respectively. The results also showed that fully vaccinated people carry a much higher viral load in case Delta, whereas in case of Alpha, they carry a much lower viral load (Sanderson, 2021). We have explored in the previous issue how numerous such studies have emerged recently that put a question mark on vaccine efficacy.
Demonstrable cases abound among the developed countries. In US, more than 1 lakh cases are reported everyday and the numbers of deaths and hospitalizations too have touched highs, despite the fact that 60% of the population is vaccinated. In Israel – one of the first countries to kickstart a thorough vaccination programme – with 78% of the people vaccinated, with Pfizer vaccine given to the majority, the new cases are amongst the highest in the world, with 650 new cases per million daily. Data from Israel showed that of the serious cases being admitted to hospital, around 60 per cent of patients were people who had been fully vaccinated (Gollom, 2021). The country is now rolling out a fourth shot of COVID19 vaccine and booster shots in the hopes of bringing the pandemic under control.
Canada’s story is also beginning to reveal chinks in the armour. The country is one of the most vaccinated countries in the world, with 77% of the population fully vaccinated. Yet, by the end of the month, it is predicted to witness its most severe COVID19 outbreak.
Bengal CBI Probe
On the directive of the Calcutta High Court, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been asked to probe the matter of post-poll violence in West Bengal, with the rapes and murder of women and human rights violations led to a comprehensive report by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). This report formed the basis of the High Court directive.
On the basis of its ongoing investigation, the CBI has filed chargesheet and conducted initial detentions and arrests on the basis of FIRs filed. The agency has so far filed 34 FIRs, and made three arrests – two in Nadia and one in North 24 Parganas. Six persons have also been detained by the CBI.
Gollom, M. (2021, September 1). CBC News. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/israel-covid-delta-variant-booster-1.6159472
Sanderson, K. (2021, August 19). Nature. Retrieved from https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02261-8