Economy

England on track to exit coronavirus lockdown, says UK Health Secretary

England on track to exit coronavirus lockdown, says UK Health Secretary”

The Pfizer coronavirus vaccine is 88% effective against the Indian variant after two doses, a study by Public Health England (PHE) has found.But despite this, warnings have been issued about the certainty of the planned further easing of lockdown restrictions on June 21.

Hancock said that showed that getting both doses of the vaccine was "absolutely vital". I think what we can see is that this strain can circulate very effectively, although it was originally imported through travel to India, it's spread fairly effectively first of all within households and now more broadly within communities, so I don't really see why it wouldn't continue to spread in other parts of the country.

The AstraZeneca jab was also found to be 60 per cent effective against the Indian variant after two doses and 66 per cent effective against the Kent strain.

Dr Cillian de Gascun, Medical Virologist and Director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory, also sounded the alarm bell about the new Indian mutation stating: 'The B.1.617.2 variant continues to increase, with 72 cases now identified in Ireland.

The Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines offer protection towards the new Indian variant of the coronavirus.

PHE said the difference in the effectiveness between the vaccines may be due to the AstraZeneca second dose being rolled out later than the Pfizer vaccine. Data suggests that it takes longer for the AstraZeneca jab to reach maximum effectiveness, so the protection it provides could increase further.

She said: "One week post the last restriction lifting, we will be monitoring it very carefully". "World Health Organization has not associated the term "Indian variant" with the B.1.617 variant of the coronavirus in any of its reports".

Conversely if the vaccine is less effective against B.1.617.2, the variant would be expected to make up a higher proportion of cases more than 3 weeks after vaccination, when compared to unvaccinated individuals.

More news: 'No doubt' US has undercounted COVID-19 deaths: Fauci

At the same time NHS Test and Trace said 15,202 people in England tested positive for Covid-19 in the week to May 12th - up five per cent on the previous week and the first seven-day increase since early January.

Its ability to evade the vaccines even by a small degree will be a factor in how more transmissible this variant is here.

"If I had to put a guess today it would be 20 or 30 per cent rather than 50 per cent (more infectious than the Kent variant)".

There are also other biological reasons why it might find it easier to spread.

It is widely accepted official figures of more than 25 million cases in the Asian country grossly underestimate the real impact of the epidemic, with some experts saying infections and deaths could be up to 10 times higher.

The study, however, mentioned the caveat that the number of cases and follow-up periods were now insufficient to estimate effectiveness of the vaccines against severe disease, including hospitalisation and mortality.

But the protection from the first doses against the Indian variant has been "notably lower" than they are against the United Kingdom variant, they said. Most people with the India variant in areas around Bolton had not been vaccinated.



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