The Minister worries that it will mean more sick people – also young people.
The Covid-situation in India is out of control. The country has detected a new variant of concern – now labeled the Indian coronavirus strain – by some considered the most dangerous one. The Ukrainian Health Minister Maksym Stepanov says that Ukraine is expecting its arrival soon.
“We can say that it will definitely appear. And this is reality, and we must tell the truth. Now it has already been recorded in neighboring countries, in particular, in the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania. And therefore it is clear that eventually, it will appear in Ukraine the way it was with the UK or South Africa variant,” he said, according to Unian.
“It is quite aggressive, more contagious, (it has) a rather complex clinical picture with damage to various organs, including the stomach, kidneys. Strong intoxication and this strain affects the young population, which is very unpleasant,” Stepanov said and pointed out that Ukraine has to prepare for the worst scenario.
What is the Indian strain?
The Indian variant is officially known as B.1617 and was first detected in Indian back in October. It is hard to say how far it has spread so far, but it has been found in the UK, where authorities have expressed concern about it.
“I think we’ve got to be very careful about that,” the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, according to Reuters, “We’re doing a huge amount, obviously, to make sure that when we do find outbreaks of the Indian variant that we do surge testing, that we do door-to-door testing.”
Scientists, however, still know very little about the British strain of the coronavirus. Dr. Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at Louisiana State University, told Reuters that it is similar to the South African and Brazilian strains, making it easier to attack the immune system. Still, Dr. Kamil asks everyone not to panic.
Vaccines will still work
There have also been worries that the vaccine will not work after a few people in Isreal, who has been vaccinated, have caught the Indian strain. Carl Theodore Bergstrom, a theoretical and evolutionary biologist and a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle, has examined the numbers and concluded that it is not the case. The vaccines still work, however, maybe a little less effective.
Now—even with these worst-case assumptions—we estimate 92% effectiveness for the vaccine using the same calculation.
( 9/0.15-4/0.85) / (9/0.15) = 0.92.
Worst case point estimates is that the Pfizer vaccine is as effective against B.1.617 as it is against wild type.
— Carl T. Bergstrom (@CT_Bergstrom) April 30, 2021
“There is currently insufficient evidence to indicate that any of the variants recently detected in India cause more severe disease or render the vaccines currently deployed any less effective,” the UK Public Health Office also concluded.
The Covid-situation in Ukraine
Since New Year, several regions in Ukraine have recently been under strict lockdown after a massive spike in Covid-cases. Most of those lockdowns are now removed, and life has become more standard in several Ukrainian cities such as Kyiv. However, the number of Covid cases is still high, and there is a risk of a new spike.
Kyiv recorded 753 new coronavirus cases, and Ukraine overall recorded 8,710 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, according to Kyiv Post. It is lower than what has been seen in March and February, where cases were more than double, but the positive percentage in Covid-tests remains high and is a concern.
Ukraine recently announced that it had signed a contract for the supply of another 42 million coronavirus vaccines, which will be delivered by the end of this year.
“If you look at the number of doses that we have contracted, I emphasize, it was the contracted amount for which we paid the funds, together with COVAX, then we now have 42 million doses of vaccines for which we have already signed (contracts), these are all supplies for this year,” the minister Stepanov, according to Kyiv Post.
“About 5 million more doses are needed,” Stepanov pointed out.