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Expert Answers Questions On COVID-19 Vaccination And Treatment

Dr Arvind Kumar, Chairman, Institute of Chest Surgery, Medanta Hospital decodes the common myths about COVID-19 treatment and vaccination

Expert Answers Questions On COVID-19 Vaccination And Treatment

New Delhi: According to the recent data of the Health Ministry, India reported 2.59 lakh new COVID cases, taking its tally to 2.6 crore. The death count rose to 2,91,331 after 4,209 more patients died in the last 24 hours. Experts feel that speeding up vaccination and following COVID appropriate behaviour are the two important keys to control the outbreak in the country. However, India’s vaccinations showed a downward graph amid fears of a third wave in the next 6-8 months.

Amid the scare for COVID-19 cases in India, Banega Swasth India team speaks to Dr Arvind Kumar, Chairman, Institute of Chest Surgery, Medanta Hospital to know more about coronavirus treatment and why it is important for everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Here’s what he said:

Question: Is Ivermectin the new Hydroxychloroquine? How effective it is for COVID-19 treatment?

Dr Arvind Kumar: Ivermectin was never projected as a magic bullet. We suggested the use of this drug based on some in vitro studies, which are basically studies done not on patients’ bodies but on laboratories. It was seen, in the laboratory setting, when COVID-19 was mixed in the Ivermectin solution, the virus replication becomes slow. This research was done in Australia and on that basis, it was suggested that this can help in treating the virus growth.

However, in the trials done by World Health Organisation, the same thing didn’t give any sound results. In India also we have done some trials, it was done in Bhubaneswar on the healthcare workers. There the study said that the solution helped in enhancing the health of the healthcare workers. Similarly, some other trials also showed that when this solution was given then for patient the chances of developing a severe disease from mild infection became less.

So, basically, overall, it was found that Ivermectin helps in reducing the growth of the virus, it can also help in preventing a severe disease. But the evidence suggesting this was never that solid that it can be recommended as a standard treatment of care for COVID-19. But the guidelines which the government has released recently, do recommend Ivermectin for treating mild COVID patients, however they have also written that the evidence for the same is weak.

As far as I am concerned, medically, I would say, some benefits of the solutions are there, but the evidence of its working are less. Secondly, it is not an expensive medicine, nor it has many side-effects, so I am a bit in favour of giving this treatment as there are small benefits and anyways, we have less ways to treat COVID, so a little help is not bad.

Also Read: Explainer: All About DRDO’s New COVID Drug

Question: Are antibiotics important in fighting COVID-19? Will you recommend it for the virus treatment?

Dr Arvind Kumar: COVID-19 is a viral infection; antibiotics are those medicines that act against the bacteria. So, antibiotics has zero effect on the virus growth. Some people who are in favour of it says that in this virus infection sometimes one may get secondary bacterial infection and by giving antibiotics we are controlling that. My counter argument to that will be – if you will give antibiotics without any indication that the person might have secondary bacterial infection, you will kill the sensitive bacteria in their body and make the resistant bacteria stay, which will be more harmful.

In my personal practice, I don’t recommend antibiotics for COVID-19 patients at all. I myself have got infected with COVID-19 two months ago, I also did not use any antibiotics for my treatment.

Question: How long the immunity last after getting vaccinated against COVID-19 or after getting infected with the infection?

Dr Arvind Kumar: After one gets infected with COVID, the antibodies start getting made in the body. According to current evidence it is seen that people who have got infected with COVID, their immunity last for up to 3 months and that is why the new guidelines that have come which says people with COVID-19 infection should get vaccinated only after completing three months.

On the other hand, after vaccination, it is believed that one will have antibodies in their body for up to 6 months. But answers to questions like do we need to give booster shot after six months or will the antibodies last in some people for more time than others are the things, we don’t know answers off as of now. But I am hopeful, we have something in two-three months’ time.

Also Read: Dos And Don’ts Of Using Steroids In COVID-19 Treatment

Question: Do people get antibodies in the body after getting the first dose?

Dr Arvind Kumar: Yes, we start getting some antibodies in a few days’ time after getting the first dose of COVID-19 vaccination. However, it is not up to the level we need to fight the virus more effectively and that is why booster shot is given. So, the level of antibodies we have in our body in the second week after getting the second dose of vaccination are treated as the level which will give us utmost protection.

Having said that, I would also say, what vaccines we have in India – Covaxin and Covishield, in that we get about 70 to 80 per cent of protection. Which means if 100 people have got both doses of vaccination and then they are exposed to the virus then out of those 100 people – 70 to 80 people will not get COVID-19 infection, but 20 to 30 people will get infected. However, mostly the virus will be mild, and the possibility of ICU and deaths will be low. Initially it was believed it was zero, but in the recent past we have seen people dying even after getting both the doses. However, remember, the chances of this are very less, therefore, everyone should get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Also Read: Coronavirus Explained: All You Need To Know About The COVID-19 Vaccine For Children In India

Question: Would exercising increase the efficacy of the vaccine after the vaccination process in the individual?

Dr Arvind Kumar: Exercising has no effect on the efficacy of the vaccine. We should however do it for our own health and building our own immunity. However, if you have mild symptoms like soreness in arms or body ache or are experiencing chills – then we suggest that you give rest to the body, eat good diet and take a lot of fluids. One can continue workout as usual after 48 to 72 hours when all these symptoms go away.

Question: It is believed that when we take the vaccine in that period our immunity is very fragile, and one is more at risk of catching the infection – is it a myth or fact?

Dr Arvind Kumar: It is a myth. Vaccine stimulates your immune system to fight the virus by making adequate antibodies in the body, which helps in protecting you from developing the disease. Antibodies in your body act as a barrier wall and helps keep the virus at bay, so even when you are exposed to the virus and it tries to enter it, antibodies fight it out before it can enter in your body and create problems.

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

24,33,49,378Cases
20,48,57,171Active
3,35,48,605Recovered
49,43,602Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 24,33,49,378 and 49,43,602 have died; 20,48,57,171 are active cases and 3,35,48,605 have recovered as on October 24, 2021 at 3:48 am.

India

3,41,75,468 15,906Cases
1,72,5941,134Active
3,35,48,605 16,479Recovered
4,54,269 561Deaths
In India, there are 3,41,75,468 confirmed cases including 4,54,269 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,72,594 and 3,35,48,605 have recovered as on October 24, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

66,01,551 1,701

27,634 113

64,33,919 1,781

1,39,998 33

Kerala

49,06,793 8,909

81,155 335

47,97,409 8,780

28,229 464

Karnataka

29,85,598 371

8,943 23

29,38,653 341

38,002 7

Tamil Nadu

26,94,089 1,140

13,280 251

26,44,805 1,374

36,004 17

Andhra Pradesh

20,63,177 396

5,222 176

20,43,616 566

14,339 6

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,082 13

94 9

16,87,089 4

22,899

West Bengal

15,85,466 974

7,731 154

15,58,690 808

19,045 12

Delhi

14,39,566 40

334 6

14,14,141 46

25,091

Odisha

10,37,964 441

4,152 45

10,25,507 482

8,305 4

Chhattisgarh

10,05,827 28

230 16

9,92,025 12

13,572

Rajasthan

9,54,400 4

32 0

9,45,414 4

8,954

Gujarat

8,26,402 24

168 3

8,16,147 21

10,087

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,740 11

79 1

7,82,138 12

10,523

Haryana

7,71,141 8

115 7

7,60,977 15

10,049

Bihar

7,26,054 9

36 6

7,16,357 3

9,661

Telangana

6,70,139 207

3,984 21

6,62,209 184

3,946 2

Assam

6,08,450 324

3,968 102

5,98,515 219

5,967 3

Punjab

6,02,189 26

231 1

5,85,407 25

16,551

Jharkhand

3,48,592 30

202 19

3,43,255 11

5,135

Uttarakhand

3,43,815 16

169 3

3,36,248 13

7,398

Jammu And Kashmir

3,31,566 72

862 8

3,26,275 80

4,429

Himachal Pradesh

2,22,569 257

1,578 95

2,17,257 161

3,734 1

Goa

1,77,852 33

574 26

1,73,920 58

3,358 1

Puducherry

1,27,674 53

457 3

1,25,362 48

1,855 2

Manipur

1,23,229 122

961 55

1,20,361 67

1,907

Mizoram

1,17,261 572

8,943 693

1,07,911 1,258

407 7

Tripura

84,384 8

101 3

83,467 5

816

Meghalaya

83,322 53

695 3

81,184 56

1,443

Chandigarh

65,321 1

27 1

64,474 2

820

Arunachal Pradesh

55,089 14

142 1

54,667 13

280

Sikkim

31,868 26

195 12

31,279 13

394 1

Nagaland

31,707 18

250 5

30,778 12

679 1

Ladakh

20,899 3

38 2

20,653 5

208

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,679

4 0

10,671

4

Lakshadweep

10,365

0 0

10,314

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,648 2

8 2

7,511

129

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