Achieving complete vaccination goal at least by middle of this year requires boosting vaccine production to full capacity by both the major domestic vaccine manufacturers, making use of available unutilized production space in public sector, for instance, Chengalputu Integrated Vaccine complex (Tamil Nadu) and other public sector units. Above all, government should support and accept the demands of Asha workers, doctors and other health personnel immediately.
As on last week of December, 2021, civilian vaccination in Africa stood at a meagre 20 per cent (single dose). Although many African countries are a major source of gold, diamonds and rare minerals for Western multinational corporations for manufacturing an array of equipment ranging from mobile phones to solar batteries, they remain poor and are unable to pay high prices charged by global vaccine firms. Such vaccine inequality and large unvaccinated population are the fertile ground for emergence of new COVID variants like Omicron.
In COVID-19 virus, cells contain important genome regions that house spike genes (responsible for entry into lungs, attack human immune system), envelope proteins and immune system compromising genes. Spike gene region is the most vital in infection and its genes get attached to Ece.2 receptors, eventually affecting the lungs. The genes contain DNA acids that are placed like alphabets in a sentence.
In Alpha and Delta variants of non-vaccinated people, nearly 50 mutations have accumulated, eventually evolving Omicron variant. Mutations are similar to ‘wrong spellings’ of words (DNA) in the spike genes of SARS virus. As genome sequencing facilities are practically non-existent in Africa, the accumulated spike gene mutations that led to new Omicron variant could not be detected early.