Dr Jayaprakash Muliyil, one of India's top epidemiologists, who serves as Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the National Institute of Epidemiology has said that India is approaching a very dangerous period in its fight against the coronavirus.Get latest Healthcare online at cnbctv18.com
India approaching a dangerous period in fight against coronavirus, says National Institute of Epidemiology Updated : April 15, 2020 08:20 PM IST Dr Jayaprakash Muliyil says herd immunity is the most lasting solution for India in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. @ShereenBhan share Dr Jayaprakash Muliyil, one of India's top epidemiologists, who serves as Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the National Institute of Epidemiology has said that India is approaching a very dangerous period in its fight against the coronavirus. He has already stated that herd immunity is the only lasting solution as far as fighting the pandemic in India is concerned. In an interview earlier this week, Dr Muliyil said that India has an advantage over countries like the US, UK, Italy and Spain as close to 90 percent of its population is under 60 year of age. In an interview with CNBC-TV18, he said, We are probably approaching a very dangerous period, probably the most important disastrous period post-Independence. I think the government is maneuvering very carefully to mitigate the degree of damaged loss of life. I think the mood and tune of the statements indicate that on one hand economic activities have to be gradually started, while on the other, the control of transmission needs to be regulated carefully. I have stated that the only way we can get out of the trouble is for the population to acquire herd immunity we dont know what that level is but probably 60 percent. Reaching that is the hard task. It is associated with people dying. There are two ways you can avoid too much of casualties, one - keep the elderly population, who are at high risk of dying, away from all activities. Two is even among the productive age group whose risk is low, make sure that the transmission is at a reasonably slow pace, he stressed. In terms of reinfection, Dr Muliyil said, Let me take the story of South Korea, demonstrating there may be people who will carry the virus even after the illness. They dont get the disease but they may carry the virus. That is commonly found in many diseases. Even though you develop immunity, the viral carriage may occur. This means that this virus is going to be around us for a long time to come. How do we protect people from falling ill and dying? The only way is to make sure they acquire immunity and I wish we had a vaccine available. It is not going to be available for another one and a half to two years. We have to restart the economy and we have to start working. That may increase the risk of disease transmission. So you need to balance these two out. If you reach the so-called herd immunity, overnight you will notice that this COVID-19 disappears from the horizon. It is almost magical because we have experienced exactly the same phenomenon during the H1N1 epidemic. It is part of the natural history of all viral diseases, measles does it, German measles does it, everyone. So once you reach that phase, you have a respite. For how long? Before the virus reappear. That may take a year and a half or two and by the time maybe a vaccine may be available. But our task now to save lives is to gradually increase the herd immunity. If you manage to selectively increase the immunity of the young then in a little while, the herd immunity level will be sufficient enough for the elderly, high-risk population to come back into the mainstream of life, he pointed out. Speaking about the importance of conducting more tests, he stressed, We are going to do a special test now using IgG [immunoglobulin G, which is the most common antibody]. When you do the blood test, you measure whether the person has already been infected and developed immunity. I strongly hope that we will be able to do the test and issue certificates saying that so and so is IgG positive, which means that he is safe from the attack from this coronavirus. "The individual may become a carrier, but to the best of our knowledge of immunology and virology, we must conclude that he or she will be protected. He or she can travel anywhere, so it is a release from this anxiety of this disease but as you go on, you will find the proportion is increasing. Soon, the prevalence or the occurrence or infection of this disease will be common, everybody will be having it. The infection will last for a short time but the immunity will last for long time preferably forever. Tags
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