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COVID-19 Third Wave May Just Be A Ripple, Say IIT Scientists

New Delhi: Having experienced a torrid second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, India is dreading the next big surge of the deadly coronavirus. The Delta and Delta Plus variants, which have spread to several countries, are adding to the concern.

A recent Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur study, however, has projected that the fresh wave will only be a “ripple” if there is no significantly rapidly spreading mutant.

The ‘Sutra’ model, which has been put together by a team of IIT Kanpur scientists, says that if a faster-spreading mutant of SARs-CoV-2 comes up, the probable third wave will be “comparable” to the first one.

IIT Kanpur professor Maninder Agarwal, a member of ‘Sutra’ team, said that there could be three scenarios.

The “optimistic” scenario is where people go back to “normal by August,” without any further mutant of the virus, Agarwal told ANI.

The second scenario is where it is assumed that vaccination against COVID-19 is “20 per cent less effective in addition to optimistic scenarios.”

Scenario 3 is a pessimistic one, where a new “25 per cent more infectious mutant” spreads in India in August.

The ‘Sutra’ analysis adds that if there is an immunity escape mutant, all three scenarios could be nullified.

“First, loss of immunity in the recovered population, second vaccination-induced immunity. Each of these two needs to be estimated for the future. And third, how to incorporate the two in the model,” Agarwal said, explaining the immunity escape mutant.