AIIMS Director Dr. Randeep Guleria Answers FAQs On Coronavirus Pandemic

Dr Randeep Guleria and coronavirus

The COVID-19 pandemic has swept the globe and has upended the lives of millions. There’s great uncertainty as to how this disease will play out in the future and that’s in large part due to a number of unattended questions and inaccurate facts that surrounded the pandemic. 

At 1mg, we have been fielding questions on COVID-19 from the common people. In an exclusive interview with Padma Shri Awardee Dr. Randeep Guleria, Director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, we sought answers to some of the common questions on COVID-19.

1mg: If I have a cough or cold, should I get tested for coronavirus?

Dr. Randeep Guleria: No, not everyone needs testing. Having cold, cough, or even fever does not indicate COVID-19 infection. You need testing only if you:

– Have been in close contact with a COVID-19 positive patient

– Have been to a COVID-19 hotspot zone 

1mg: If I am old and I have a cough and cold, should I get a COVID-19 test done?

Dr Randeep: If you are elderly and have comorbidities such as hypertension, heart diseases, or diabetes, you need to get tested only if you fall in the high-risk category. This means testing is required only if:

– You have had close contact with a COVID-19 positive patient

– You live in or have been to a COVID-19 hotspot zone

Suffering from cough/cold, fever and breathing difficulty? Book a test right now! Click here!

1mg: Does taking Vitamin C and Zinc supplements increase immunity? Will it help to fight the COVID-19 disease?

Dr Randeep: Numerous studies suggest the role of zinc and other supplements such as High dose Vitamin C not only as prophylaxis but also as a treatment. Other trace elements such as selenium and copper are also being studied for their immunity-boosting potential. However, there is not enough data to say that these elements are definitely useful in preventing COVID-19. 

1mg: What is the testing strategy in India? Are we testing less than the world?

Dr Randeep: The policy of coronavirus testing has evolved in India. Testing for COVID-19 in India depends upon numerous factors such as people coming from countries where COVID-19 cases are active. Surveillance programs are also taken into consideration which keeps a check on people suffering from influenza-like illness, thus any patient with severe acute respiratory illness is tested for COVID-19.

The strategy for testing is evolving and random testing is not advised as it won’t give any answers at the moment and will be a waste of resources. 

For more such questions and answers from Dr Randeep Guleria on COVID-19, WATCH VIDEO NOW!

1mg: Is the impact of COVID-19 less in India than other countries owing to better immunity of Indians?

Dr Randeep:  More data is required in support of greater immunity of Indians to COVID-19 than people of other countries. It is assumed that because India has had a stringent BCG vaccination policy– wherein all newborn babies are given BCG vaccination– they may be better protected from the virus as compared to countries that do not have such a policy. Another possibility is that India has a younger population as compared to European countries. This could contribute to lower mortality rates. 

1mg: How long will it take for a vaccine to develop? Once developed, will it be indicated for everyone?

Dr Randeep: Extensive research is underway in India as well as abroad for vaccine development. However, safe and effective vaccine development against a new virus or any microorganism has to go through various stages. After the safety and efficacy of a vaccine are established, it goes for mass production which may take anywhere around 12 months. Once developed, its availability may initially be considered for high-risk populations, such as frontline health workers and later to other sections of the population. 

**Consult India’s best doctors here**

1mg: According to you, what methods should our country adopt to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic?

Dr Randeep: COVID-19 is a community battle where each one of us needs to understand our responsibilities as a citizen. Some of the measures that are non-negotiable are:

Home quarantine/social distancing: It will help prevent the spread of infection and is a crucial measure in containing the virus.

Click here for some few quick picks on COVID-19 social distancing, lockdown essentials and more. 

Hand-washing: Enough has been said in favor of how crucial proper handwashing is in the prevention of COVID-19 infection.

Protecting the elderly: The elderly are more prone to getting severely affected by the COVID-19 infection due to compromised immunity and/or presence of any comorbidities. Hence, keeping them protected is of utmost importance.

(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)

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