K Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Advisor to Centre:
— A phase three is inevitable, given the higher levels of circulating virus but it is not clear on what time scale this phase three will occur. We should prepare for new waves.
— Variants are transmitted same as original strain. It doesn’t have properties of new kinds of transmission. It infects humans in a manner that makes it more transmissible as it gains entry, makes more copies & goes on, same as original.
— Vaccines are effective against current variants. New variants will arise all over the world and in India too but variants that increase transmission will likely plateau. Immune evasive variants and those which lower or increase disease severity will arise going ahead.
— Scientists of India and all over world are working to anticipate these kinds of variants and act against them rapidly by early warning and developing modified tools. It’s an intense research program, happening in India and abroad.