Saturday, July 31, 2021
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“Covid-19 knowledge is still evolving”

Expert panelists are of the view that masks and social distancing are the best defence till a vaccine for Coronavirus is found.

When will the vaccine for Coronavirus be ready? The US, Italy and Israel have claimed that they are near to achieving a breakthrough. Research is on in India to make the vaccine as well. APN’s popular debate Mudda discussed the issue. Anchorperson Neha Dubey spoke with panelists including respiratory expert from Yashoda Hospital, Ghaziabad, Dr Ankur Kumar Sinha, specialist from KGMG, Lucknow, Dr Neeraj Pandey, cancer specialist from Fortis Hospital, Gurugram, Dr Rahul Bhargava, and former secretary-general, IMA, Dr DR Rai.

Dr Bhargava said: “Many countries are scrambling to make the vaccine. First, it is administered to animals, and then it goes through various trials before humans can be administered the vaccine successfully.”

Dr Rai said: “There is a procedure to develop the vaccine. It won’t be made so soon. Vaccine helps to neutralize the virus. The US is claiming it has made the virus. First, animal studies need to be seen. In Phase 3, we come to know the efficacy of the vaccine. So far, we have no knowledge of that. Now, people are saying that the strains of the virus are different in the US and Europe compared to the strains seen in Asia. Let’s hope the vaccine comes out first. Till then, we will have to live with Corona.”

Dr Sinha said: “Research is going on and let’s hope for the best.”

Dr Bhargava said: “Social distancing and use of masks are our best defence. Till now there is no other way out. Vaccine is needed to arrest the mortality. To build herd immunity, at least 60 percent of the population must be vaccinated.”

Dr Rai said: “To deal with Covid-19, the best defence is to build immunity. Lockdown is not a treatment for coronavirus. It only helps in its slowdown. We can take the help of Ayurveda to build immunity. But that’s not a treatment.”

Dr Pandey said: “The virus has the capacity to mutate. The role of immunity is being emphasised again and again.”

Dr Bhargava said: “So far, we are not sure that patients once infected will be free from any further infection. We need to be careful.”

Dr Pandey said: “In China, there has been a second wave of Covid-19. But there are reports that the second wave is not as deadly as the first. Right now we cannot say anything with certainty.”

Dr Rai said: “Wuhan first had this virus, then there were reports that South Korea and Singapore had dealt with it successfully just on the basis of lifestyle modifications. So far, all reports are hypothetical, there are no clinical results that we can share with positivity. See trials were on regarding plasma therapy also. Such trails are going on in various countries. But sufficient data to recommend it universally is not there, and ICMR too has denied it.”

Dr Bhargava said: “Plasma therapy is a treatment for seriously ill patients. Plasma donors do not have any problem, and for patients receiving it, it could be life-saving. But it all also depends on what kind of strain…this is all evolving knowledge. One has to start living with coronavirus.”

Dr Sinha said: “All trials so far are case-based. Randomized trials have not been done. In many deaths seen among corona patients, it’s also because of micro thrombosis.”

Dr Bhargava said: “Social distancing and masks are mandatory for prevention.”

Dr Rai said: “Social distancing will help in containment. Stigmatisation should be avoided. Had lockdown decision not been taken in the country, our condition would have been far worse.”

Dr Pandey said: “Cases are bound to rise. But the government also has to open the economy. So a certain amount of normalcy has to return. Economy is suffering. People have been given sufficient information on coronavirus. Now people should also show responsibility.”

Dr Sinha said: “For the vaccine, the wait might go up till March or April. It’s best to listen to the experts on this.”

Dr Bhargava said: “Medicines to the sick are being given through the IV mode. Plasma therapy has also been given to check mortality. Mask usage should become a part of lifestyle. I have seen this in Tokyo where I went a few years ago though there was no epidemic as such.”

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