[Vol 11] Medi-Scene: Your Weekly Health News Update


Medi Scene Vol 11

1. Coronavirus update: 315 new cases on Tuesday as total crosses over 1600

In an enormous escalation in new cases led by 82 in Maharashtra and 57 in Tamil Nadu, 315 new coronavirus infections were announced in the nation on Tuesday which is almost twice as much the previous day’s number. This has taken the total number of cases detected to 1,618. The total number of deaths due to this virus has risen to 52 in the country. Delhi, has become one of the worst affected states with at least two major hotspots, Nizamuddin and Dilshad Garden area. New confirmed 23 cases have been reported from these areas taking its total tally to 120. This, however, doesn’t comprise any case of Covid-19 among the people taken out from Nizamuddin mosque as the government claimed their test reports were awaited. With the number of new cases on Tuesday, Maharashtra now has displayed 302 COVID-19 infections, making the state one of the worst-hit states in India. It also reported two more deaths, one from Mumbai and the other from Palghar, taking the total death toll to 12. Jharkhand and Assam which had remained untouched from the Covid-19 crisis so far, reported their first cases. A Malaysian woman was staying at Badi Masjid at Hindipri locality in state capital Ranchi and has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. In Assam, a 52-year-old man admitted to Assam’s Silchar Medical College in Assam tested positive for the disease. He is a cancer patient and had returned from Delhi recently.

2. Not just the old, middle-aged people also at COVID 19 risk

So far, studies showed that elderly were at a higher risk of developing serious illness due to COVID-19, which could lead to death. New findings from Britain have shown that even middle-aged people too have an adequately higher risk of death or getting serious illness from COVID-19. For this research, more than 3,600 confirmed COVID-19 cases were studied. It showed that age was one of the key factors in determining the seriousness of infection. One out of five patients who were above 80 years old required hospitalisation. The research also showed that almost 8.2% of patients in their fifties needed hospitalization. Azra Ghani, a study co-author from Imperial College London in an interview said, “Our estimates can be applied to any country to inform decisions around the best containment policies for COVID-19.There might be outlying cases that get a lot of media attention, but our analysis very clearly shows that at aged 50 and over, hospitalisation is much more likely than in those under 50, and a greater proportion of cases are likely to be fatal.” The study was published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal and it determined that 18.4% of patients who were in their 80s were hospitalised in China. Approximately 4.3% for 40 to 49-year-olds and roughly 1% for patients in their 20s.

3. India could get new test kits in 2 months according to ICMR

India, to battle the COVID-19 pandemic is most likely to start production of new serological diagnostic testing kits within the next two months. Many breakthroughs have been made after the virus was isolated by research agencies. Indian Council of Medical Reasearch’s chief epidemiologist & communicable disease expert Dr R R Gangakhedkar said, “Once the virus has been isolated, it helps in taking research forward for developing diagnostic kits, medicines and vaccines and India is working in that direction. We are hopeful that at least a serological diagnostic testing will be made in India in next one to two months.” 

What are Serological tests? These are tests that observe antibodies in blood and help in diagnosing diseases. 

Concurrently, to make quick decisions on R&D for SARS-CoV2 and Covid-19, the government formed a science and technology committee. The committee has given its consent to institutes under DST, DBT, CSIR, DAE, DRDO and Indian Institute of Science (IISc) to self-assess and prepare their labs for research and testing through standard and rigorous protocol. Dr Gangakhedkar added, “There is no delay, we are allowing those who are fitting into criterion. Now, the kit has to be procured by them. If they face problems in that, then they have to resolve it. We cannot do anything about it.” ICMR has approved 49 private labs and 399 patients have been tested in these labs so far

4. TB vaccine being tested as weapon against COVID 19

Cure and vaccines to eradicate COVID-19 are being researched by scientists and doctors. One such ray of hope is the bacillus Calmette-Guerin, or BCG, shot that has been used widely for about 100 years. Not only is it a familiar immunotherapy for early-stage bladder cancer, it also seems to train the body’s first line of immune defense to better fight infections. The World Health Organization mentioned that it is principle to know whether the BCG vaccine can reduce disease in those infected with the coronavirus. WHO is also encouraging international committees to collaborate with Nigel Curtis, head of infectious diseases research, at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne for further research and studies. Curtis, who’s also a professor of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Melbourne in an interview saud, “It can boost the immune system so that it defends better against a whole range of different infections, a whole range of different viruses and bacteria in a much more generalized way. We need to think of every possible way that we can protect health-care workers and there’s going to be a particular need to reduce the amount of time that our health-care workers are absent.” Blood samples taken at the beginning and end of the tests will decide who was infected with the coronavirus, while participants will log any symptoms during the trial period. The study’s data observation committee will review the results after three months to look for any signs that the approach is working.

5. Trauma Centre of AIIMS to be converted to COVID 19 hospital

To fight this global panic around coronavirus, All India Institute of Medical Science has decided to turn its trauma center to  COVID 19 hospital. Arrangements are in progress to convert the facility, to provide treatment to patients of COVID 19 and it will have around 260 beds. The trauma center at present has 242 beds and 18 more are being added. One trusted source in an interview also said, “The entire trauma casualty and the emergency is being shifted to the AIIMS’ main emergency. Most of the patients have already been shifted to multiple wards at the main AIIMS hospital.” AIIMS has set up a task force to advance a management protocol for COVID-19 and inaugurated several committees to be able to respond to the challenges that may prop up in the coming days due to the rising number of coronavirus cases.

6. COVID 19 can cause cardiac injury even in patients without heart conditions: Study

In a recent study conducted in The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) in the US, it is found that those who do not have an underlying heart condition can also face an injury in the muscles of the heart due to COVID-19. Mohammad Madjid, an assistant professor at The University of Texas Health Science Center said that, “It is likely that even in the absence of previous heart disease, the heart muscle can be affected by coronavirus disease. Overall, injury to heart muscle can happen in any patient with or without heart disease, but the risk is higher in those who already have heart disease.” 

Previous studies on influenza pandemics have also suggested that viral infections can cause acute coronary syndromes, arrhythmias, and the development of, or exacerbation of, heart failure. 

Further commenting on critical cases, Mohammad Madjid also said, “It is reasonable to expect that significant cardiovascular complications linked to COVID-19 will occur in severe symptomatic patients because of the high inflammatory response associated with this illness.”

7. Medlife Health Warriors: Inspiring Us To Do Better Everyday

Amidst the lockdown, a lot of the essential services have taken a hit. At Medlife, our aim is to make healthcare simple, accessible, affordable and personal. Even during these chaotic times, we have our own healthcare warriors who have been working round the clock to make sure you get your medicine deliveries and health checkups done on time. Whether it’s working two shifts or walking long distances to deliver and pack your orders, our health warriors are up for the task.

Medlife Health Warriors

  1. Siddharth Sarode, our TSA in Pune. He was on his way to the FC on his bike when he was stopped and he wasn’t allowed to move till a senior spoke with authorities for his release. In Spite of this incident, he came to FC, took the load & delivered around 25 orders on that day.
  2. Sudipta Kumar Ghosh, our Team Lead Pharmacist , since the lockdown, he has been regularly visiting the FC by traveling 40km on bike. In such a panic situation he has been very calm and has managed manpower. He has encouraged people to perform and made sure that orders are dispatched on time. 
  3. Akshata Pawar, our Pharmacist in Mumbai, in spite of the curfew, she came all the way from Dombivli to Ghatkopar on a scooter travelling almost 40 kms for 2 continuous days to perform her duty, battling and answering questions at various check posts 
  4. Ponnukalai Mariappan, our pharmacist in Chennai,  has been reporting at FC walking 6 kms everyday in the absence of public transport. He has supported both in night and day shifts and ensured maximum no of dispensed orders . Apart from dispensing, Other FC activities are being monitored by him single handedly.
  5. Dinesh Mali, our Assistant Manager and Pharmacist in Ahmedabad, Since the lock down, he has never missed a day at the FC and travels more than 5kms by walk, in absence of public transport. He has been working tirelessly throughout the day and on some days he has worked for 14 hrs in the absence of other pharmacists. Apart from this, he also assisted in picking the orders to ensure that customers orders were dispensed on time.
  6. Amit Kumar, our Delivery Team Lead in Delhi, Since the lockdown, Amit has been continuously working in two locations – Naraina and Jahangirpuri by alternating his day shifts. He has also been working the night shifts to overcome any delivery issues. He walks around 5 kms everyday just to get the transport. 
  7. Alison Lugun, our Customer Experience Pharmacist Executive in Bangalore has been traveling 12.5kms to the office everyday since she does not have WiFi connectivity at home. During the initial days of lockdown, when public transportation was not easily available, she managed to come to the office by either auto or cab. During these times of pandemic she has been making sure that our customers are given top priority when it comes to providing better healthcare solutions. 

Reference link

  1. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/industry/coronavirus-in-india-maharashtra-tamil-nadu-lead-spurt-315-cases-on-tuesday-as-total-crosses-1600/74922193
  2. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/diagnostics/study-shows-middle-age-covid-19-mortality-risk/74921314
  3. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/medical-devices/new-test-kits-likely-in-2-months-icmr/74922430
  4. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/industry/100-year-old-tb-vaccine-is-being-tested-as-a-weapon-against-coronavirus/74903891
  5. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/diagnostics/aiims-to-convert-trauma-centre-into-covid-19-hospital/74884583 


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