Colombo, June 22 (NewsWire) – Head of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine, University of Sri Jayewardenepura Professor Neelika Malavige has highlighted the dangers of the more highly transmissible Delta/ India variant of the coronavirus that has been detected in Sri Lanka.
Professor Neelika Malavige has pointed out seven key dangers posed by the Delta variant, which has already been detected in the Dematagoda area in Colombo.
- The Delta variant could easily become the dominant variant doing the rounds in Sri Lanka.
- There could be more rapid spread, as Delta is 50% more transmissible than Alpha. Delta causes more severe disease and deaths than Alpha.
- Studies in the UK have also shown that the effectiveness of the vaccines being used there, such as Pfizer and AstraZeneca, was less against Delta than against Alpha.
- This was although the efficacy of reducing hospitalization was over 85% for both vaccines in the case of Delta. If only one dose of these vaccines has been taken, the protection dropped drastically.
- Sri Lanka has given around 350,000 people both doses of AstraZeneca, while 600,000 people have got only one jab. Therefore, the latter group is unlikely to be protected from the Delta variant.
- The efficacy against Delta from the other vaccines available in Sri Lanka, such as Sinopharm and Sputnik V, is not known, as studies have not been conducted on them. Their efficacy against the original virus is 79% and 91% respectively.
- Based on data, both Sinopharm and Sputnik V, and all COVID-19 vaccines have shown that they are effective and significantly reduce severe disease and death, which is important. Therefore, while finding Delta is bad news, we do have very safe and effective vaccines to prevent severe disease and death.
“If we are to come out of this, all of us have to try our best to limit unnecessary movement and functions (alms-givings, pirith, parties, etc.), so that people who need to work, can work and will not starve. Even if you are fully vaccinated, you can get infected without showing symptoms and spread the infection to unvaccinated people. We need to be mindful about our responsibility to others while safeguarding ourselves.” Prof. Malavige told the Sunday Times Newspaper.