Hospital bosses in UK have warned that the spread of the Indian variant could lead to a new surge in infections which puts hospitals still recovering from the huge impact of the pandemic under serious strain again, reports The Guardian.
NHS Providers, which represents health service trusts, has also asked the government and its medical and scientific advisers to guide them on how big a threat the variant known as B.1.617.2 poses to the NHS and when it might result in an influx of patients.
Chris Hopson, the chief executive of NHS Providers, said:
"This is clearly a fast moving situation where evidence is still emerging. It is the NHS's job, as ever, to be ready to provide care to all those who need it. But we need as much help as possible from the government and the epidemiological and modelling community.
It would help trusts if, as fast as they can, government and their expert advisers could produce a robust and aligned view of the risk the NHS faces here. How big is the risk? How widespread could it be? When might it realise?
We know this risk assessment will need to be based on a best estimate of the complex interactions between the latest data on transmission including levels of infection, geographic spread and speed of transmission; vaccine uptake and resulting levels of immunity; and vaccine efficacy in relation to this variant."
Hopson outlined several reasons why the Indian variant may end up becoming a major challenge for already hard-pressed hospitals.
"Given the combination of potentially lower vaccine efficacy, seemingly much faster transmission of the virus and the fact that many people are still unvaccinated, there is a risk that this variant could lead to a large group of people becoming ill with Covid-19, putting significant pressure on the NHS once more. Trust leaders need this risk assessment as soon as possible so they can plan accordingly."