India registered 10,753 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of active cases to 53,720, as per the lates update from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The country’s daily positivity rate is recorded at 6.78 per cent while weekly positivity rate is estimated to be 4.49 per cent.
During the same period, 1,58,625 coronavirus tests were conducted, and 397 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered. As of 15 April 2023, the country has administered 220.66 crore total Vaccine doses (95.21 crore Second Dose and 22.87 crore Precaution Dose) under its Nationwide Vaccination Drive.
Update COVID-19 vaccines by incorporating Omicron descendent lineages: WHO
The WHO Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19 Vaccine Composition (TAG-CO-VAC) has advised vaccine manufacturers and regulatory authorities for updating COVID-19 Vaccine composition by including Omicron descendent lineages for use as a booster dose.
In its latest report, the TAG-CO-VAC stated that the effectiveness of the index virus-based vaccines is likely to reduce over time, given the antigenic distance and uncertainties of further viral evolution. The group compiled the report after their meeting held on 16-17 March 2023 in Muscat, Oman. During the meet, they reviewed the evidence on the efficacy of updated COVID-19 vaccines that include descendent lineages of Omicron as a booster dose.
Multiple vaccine manufacturers have developed COVID-19 vaccines with an updated antigenic composition and several bivalent mRNA-based vaccines containing earlier Omicron descendent lineages, in addition to the index virus (i.e., index virus + BA.1 or BA.4/5) have been authorized for emergency use by regulatory authorities.
Based on the review of the data, the TAG-CO-VAC concluded that booster doses of BA.1- or BA.4/5-containing bivalent mRNA vaccines may have modestly higher vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease as compared to index virus-based vaccines. However, similar vaccine effectiveness was seen in term of protection from severe disease.
Further, the TAG-CO-VAC reported that both BA.1- and BA.4/5-containing bivalent mRNA vaccines also produced higher and broader cross-reactive vaccine-induced immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 variants when used as a booster dose, as compared to the index virus-based vaccines.
In their next meeting in May 2023, the TAG-CO-VAC will assess if the inclusion of the index virus is warranted in future vaccine formulations.