The drugs currently available in Morocco can manage the classic strain and other variants of the coronavirus, said epidemiologist and infectious disease specialist Jaâfar Heikal.
The national vaccination strategy must continue, because the main virus circulating in Morocco is the classic strain and the Indian variant is for the moment extremely limited (2 cases recorded so far), he said in an interview, calling for caution and vigilance.
“We are on the right track and on the right track and we must maintain epidemiological surveillance to avoid any impact on the vaccine strategy,” he said, stressing that the vaccines available in Morocco (Sinopharm or AstraZeneca) have a fairly high level of effectiveness and efficiency between 70% and 80% depending on the scheme and the populations.
Coming back to the Indian variant, Heikal let it be known that it has particular characteristics including its double mutation since it enters more easily into infected cells and therefore is transmitted more easily, as well as it escapes antibodies, to “our immune system that protects us”.
“Scientifically, the variant is transmitted much more quickly compared to the classic wild strain, and this with a transmissibility capacity of 28% additional”, he added, noting that the scientific data have not decided if it is more dangerous or more serious or it causes more complications and more critical cases requiring resuscitation.
Moreover, according to the first data, the South African, Brazilian or Indian variants once again seem to give weaker results than compared to the British variant or classic variants but this remains to be demonstrated, the epidemiologist insisted on.
According to the Moroccan expert, the outbreak of Indian variance is mainly due to the favorable conditions for its transmission, including large popular gatherings for political, social, cultural and religious reasons. Also, the Indian health system is not sufficiently responsive and resilient and it does not have enough capacity to handle patient flows of around 400,000 new patients per day, he estimated.
Heikal also noted that studies are underway to determine whether current vaccines and diagnostic elements (PCR) will allow this variant to be diagnosed and put out of harm’s way.
At the end of his speech, Professor Heikal did not fail to recall the best measures to be taken to avoid “a health debacle”.
“While we are continuing the vaccination strategy, it is obvious that before achieving collective immunity which must be 60 to 80% of the target population, we must significantly maintain the barrier measures, namely the wearing of a mask, physical distancing (1.5 to 2 m), regular hand washing”, he insisted.
For Heikal, these elements are very important in order to achieve acquired collective immunity more quickly and allow, in the coming months, a return to normal life, especially in social and economic terms.