Banaras Hindu University (BHU).. Image Source: IANS News

Varanasi, May 17 : Scientists and medical experts from the Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, working on Covid-19, have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggesting some specific measures to tackle the projected third wave of the pandemic.

The experts have also requested the Prime Minister to set up a virus surveillance centre in BHU.

"Backed by our extensive study, we have some suggestions that can help tackle the expected third wave in India," the letter said.

The experts, including Prof Vijay Nath Mishra (neurology), Prof Gyaneshwer Chaubey (zoology, molecular anthropology) and Prof Abhishek Pathak (neurology), have been working on Covid-19 and claim to have published more than 10 international research papers on the subject.

"Our recent paper in the journal 'Science' conclusively shows that broken immunity wall was one of the main reasons for the surge of second wave," said Prof Mishra.

The experts have recommended monthly sero-surveillance in hotspot regions like Mumbai, Delhi, Lucknow, Varanasi, saying it reveals the vulnerability of population towards infection.

"In Varanasi, we noticed that as soon as the number of sampled people with antibodies dipped below 10 per cent, more cases started emerging," said Prof Mishra.

The experts further said their pilot study on patients who recovered from Covid showed that one dose of vaccine is enough to produce adequate number of antibodies, whereas those who were never infected need two doses.

"Therefore, we suggest a single dose of vaccination to those who have recovered from Covid. This will save approximately two crore doses of vaccine," the experts said.

Prof Chaubey said the studies conducted in Israel, UK and the USA showed that even a single dose of vaccination effectively cut short transmission by 50-80 per cent.

"Therefore, we propose that the ratio in India for next three months for the first and second dose should be 70:30 followed by 60:40 in the following months," he added.

The group also stressed on the importance of virus surveillance in combating the deadly pandemic.

"Virus surveillance is necessary and in north India, BHU can be a perfect centre for it. We have expertise but do not have the required instrumentation. Hence, we request you to set-up a virus surveillance centre in BHU," the experts said.

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