The third wave of COVID-19 is becoming more serious due to the sharp increase of highly contagious UK and South African variants in Pakistan.
KARACHI – “Dr. Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD) at the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi reports that the third wave of COVID-19 is becoming more serious due to the sharp increase of highly contagious UK and South African variants in Pakistan.
Dr. Panjwani Center reports a steep rise in the UK and South African variants in Pakistan. The situation may slip out of control if immediate measures are not taken to address the looming disaster.”
Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary, Director of the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences, and COMSTECH Coordinator General expressed these views on Thursday while reviewing the COVID-related research projects at the National Center for Virology (NCV) and Jamil-ur-Center for Genome Research of the Dr. Panjwani Center.
A recent study at the National Center for Virology revealed that around 50 percent of the positive cases are UK variants while 25 percent are South African variants, he said. In the backdrop of large-scale violation of corona SOPs in Pakistan, these variants have the potential to sweep a major chunk of the population within a short period, he maintained.
Prof. Choudhary emphasized the need to step up genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 to timely identify and contain rapidly emerging new strains of the virus.
It is pertinent to mention here that global concerns toward South African variants are on the rise due to its tendency to re-infect vaccinated individuals.
Furthermore, citing the recent reports, he highlighted that the novel coronavirus variant that was causing the current wave of Covid-19 in neighboring India was not just highly infectious but also surreptitious. Patients demonstrating typical severe COVID-19 symptoms are testing negative even using the latest RT-PCR-based assays, he added.
Extrapolating the situation in India, he warned that the same could have been happening in other countries where testing and genomic surveillance are limited. These countries are likely to have new unnoticed strains, which can escape current vaccine regimes, and cause major outbreaks, he observed.