Just as the world is about to breathe a collectively-held breath of relief amidst global vaccination drives, nation-wide lockdowns and aggressive healthcare protocols being implemented as if lives depended on it (and they do), a new enemy (the B1617 Covid-19 strain) has reared its head and could make what we experienced in 2020 look like a walk in the park.
The Scope of a New Pandemic
Despite the multiple strains of coronavirus mutations that have come into play, none are more concerning than the B1617 coronavirus variant, “offensively” known as the ‘Indian Strain’ . The virus, which was detected all the way back in October of 2020 has spread like a literal biological wildfire as it has made its way to over 50 different countries as per the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) reports. This is a notable concern given that the majority of the world remained under heavy lock and key for the past 6 months.
The global health body has deemed it a ‘variant of global concern’ with scientists stating that it is nearly two times more transmissible than the one the world was introduced to in Wuhan over a year ago.
Are We Any More Prepared than We Were Last Year?
Research has shown that the weapons to fight this bio-menace do exist. Vaccines like Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca have proven to be effective in the fight against Covid-19 variant B1617 strain, but the question of the hour is this: How much of the world actually have access to these vaccines?
For starters, India – does not have access to these vaccines, and with a population so dense and large, the rate of vaccination is too low to effectively combat the new strain without said doses.
India aside, the majority of Asian, African and South American countries have some of the lowest overall vaccination rates in the world and for them, it would be a blow of unparalleled proportions once the variant strain infiltrates the majority of the population. Some of the most affected countries include places like Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka in Asia; Senegal, Rwanda, the Ivory Coast and Namibia in Africa; as well as Guatemala, Angola and Cuba in the South American region.
With what looks like a new and more nefarious pandemic that is rearing up to trample global communities, only time will tell if the world will rally in this time of crisis.