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The future of COVID: ‘Generic version of PaxLovid may offer hope of cure in India’

“COVID fatigue is everywhere in the world. people are irrigated UP. But we can’t let fatigue be our response coronavirus, I am not saying it is easy but the virus is not gone. We don’t have to worry about it like we did in the beginning. It is not a scary disease, but it is still causing death and illness,” says Professor Salim S Abdul Karim from the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, USA and co-author of The Lancet. COVID-19 Commission report. In other words, we cannot lower our level of alertness.

New report, “The Lancet Commission on Lessons for the Future of the COVID-19 Pandemic”, which was released yesterday, said widespread, global failures The COVID-19 response has resulted in millions of preventable deaths in many countries at multiple levels and reversed progress made in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is the result of two years of work from 28 of the world’s leading experts in public policy, international governance, epidemiology, vaccinology, economics, international finance, sustainability and mental health, and consultations with more than 100 other contributors to 11 global workforces.

Analyzing the COVID response through three waves, he says, “The first era was the initial year of the pandemic in 2020, with public health measures, hand washing, social distancingMasks and lockdown. The second year, 2021, was vaccination. Vaccines became the norm and when India went through this terrible delta pandemic, we also saw the importance of vaccination. Then there were new types, which could evade an immune response from vaccination. However, they cannot escape treatment. Treatment is becoming increasingly important. As the virus is changing, treatments remain mostly effective and therefore become the standard of care. ,

An antiviral drug developed by Pfizer, nirmatrelvir, is an effective treatment. Sold under the brand name Paxlovid, this drug works really well in older people. It is now the standard of care in the US and Europe. Medicine is not available in Africa due to cost and unavailability and this is an unfortunate situation. “While generic manufacturers in India are making it now, we expect it to be available by the end of the year,” says Prof. Karim.

“What the Lancet commission has done is to trace the first two years of the pandemic. One of the things the report focuses on is that we need a better coordinated plan. We cannot aim to deal with a pandemic that affects the entire world in fragments, country by country approach. In terms of the global response there has to be an overall coordination in many ways – this is not a country level but a global threat,” says Prof. Karim, who is also the vice president of the International Scientific Council. According to global figures, there are more than 600 million cases and There are over 65 lakh COVID deaths.India has over 4.45 crore cases and over 5.28 lakh deaths.

The new Lancet report said that while the COVID outbreak became known globally in early January, 2020, most governments around the world were too slow to acknowledge its importance and act promptly in response.

It was mainly countries in the WHO’s Western Pacific region, inspired by their experience with severe acute respiratory syndrome, that responded promptly to outbreaks, and generally pursued a suppression strategy that resulted in a low cumulative death toll. the rate was reduced, however omicron The variant (b.1.1.529) is undoing some of these benefits. There was insufficient coordination between governments on policies to contain the pandemic, including travel protocols, testing strategies, public health and social measures, commodity supply chains, data standards and reporting systems, and advice to the public to slow global transmission of the virus. is included. This is despite the great interdependence between the countries. With the support of major financial institutions such as the WHO, the G20 and the World Bank, the Commission recommended increased and more effective investments to achieve universal health coverage, with a focus on primary care for both pandemic preparedness and health systems in developing countries. is of. and disease control. “The fact that we are so interconnected was illustrated very well by the Omicron edition. When we first announced it last November here in South Africa, it was everywhere around the world within a month. If it was not clear to anyone that we are interconnected and the virus spreading in one part of the world means bad news everywhere, Omicron cited this as an example,” says Prof. Karim.

The commission also focused on door-to-door giving the message of being pro-social. “I didn’t know the word until we were writing the report. There is a word called pro-sociality. act pro-socially when they demonstrate that they care about fellow human beings that the community is as important as the individual. Pro-social behavior is important and its importance is made clear by the use of masks. You are not only protecting yourself but more importantly you are protecting everyone else. In case of being infected asymptomatically, by wearing a mask the person is minimizing the risk of everyone around him. There are many such practices. A person suffering from cough, cold and fever will first take the COVID test. He will not board the bus or train and will not expose everyone to the virus. It is the level of prosecution where individuals are making decisions for the benefit of the community. When we do this, we are in a better position to tackle any pandemic, not just COVID,” says the expert.

Emphasizing on how masks can help control the spread in indoor settings, Prof Karim admits they were now seeing resistance and non-compliance around the world as well. “There is a kind of reaction. Someone has to be prepared and anticipate that you are going to hit these blocks and do what you can to minimize the impact. Ultimately people have to make their own decisions and take their own risks – in COVID, no one knows who is infected, but it is a huge responsibility, even for a young person, Choosing to be safe by sitting next to an elderly person. It is our job to educate the public that we are still living in the midst of a pandemic that is causing death and disease. At least 400 people are dying in America every day. We are now in single digits in South Africa.

does he see any problem with monkeypox, “Monkeypox virus does not spread very easily. This requires prolonged contact. We know that the disease is spreading among men who have sex with men, not because of their sexual orientation but because of the personal time they spend together. There have been outbreaks of monkeypox virus in Africa and we have controlled it regularly and easily through public health measures,” says Prof Karim, who is also director of the Center for the AIDS Program of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA).

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