Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Director General Shekhar C Mande has warned the COVID-19 crisis is far from over. He said people and the scientific community should not allow "complacency to set in", and cautioned that a third wave could lead to a more grievous situation than the challenges the country faced so far.
Speaking at a virtual "National Sciences Day Lectures" session on "India's response to Covid-19 from S&T perspective", organised by Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Mande said collaboration across institutions was key to improve the current scenario and avert fatal situations arising out of climate change and over-dependence on fossil fuels.
He said people should continue wearing masks, maintaining hand hygiene and observing social distancing to avoid getting infected as India is nowhere near achieving herd immunity.
He said that factors other than herd immunity - wearing of masks and people staying outdoors during winter led to the lower COVID-19 tally as the virus remained suspended in the air in closed areas and lost its potency in open areas.
While responding to a question around the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines against coronavirus variants, Mande said the evidence that vaccines will not work against the mutated virus "is not very strong".
He added the vaccines are effective against the variants as they worked against the entire part of the virus, while the mutation took place on a part of the virus.
With agency inputs