New strain spreads 1.7 times faster but India must focus on long-haul Covid: OMAG

'Focus needs to be more on post-Covid-19 syndrome, which is a new phenomenon and the world is at a learning stage'
Last Updated 21 December 2020, 13:00 IST

The new strain of coronavirus spreads 1.7 times faster than Covid-19 but India’s focus at this stage needs to remain on combating the pandemic and tackling Long-Covid, according to the Organized Medicine Academic Guild (OMAG).

“A subset of people who recovered from Covid-19, but experience lingering symptoms are described as post-Covid syndrome, Long-haul Covid or Long-Covid. This can last for several weeks to several months. Often physiological suffering is downplayed as a psychological problem and the patient gets scuttled,” said OMAG’s President S Natrajan and Secretary General Dr IS Gilada.

“Viruses mutate on their own in natural course…this is bound to happen…we must ensure that the vulnerable population is vaccinated and this has to be coupled by containment strategies. This would take care of the new strain,” he said, adding that the focus needs to be more on post-Covid-19 syndrome, which is a new phenomenon and the world is at a learning stage. “We must not panic,” they said.

Dr Gilada said that Covid-19 pandemic can have huge downstream effects on a person's quality of life, impacting family and social life, as well as productivity.

This is also seen in those who had mild symptoms, which is all the more reason to fortify the steps towards prevention of Covid, requiring holistic care with multidisciplinary approach, patience, and reassurance in addition to physical therapy. We cannot fight what we do not measure. Death is not the only thing that counts. We must also count lives changed,” he said.

Talking to DH, Dr Gilada said proper planning and implementation of Covid vaccination and post-Covid-19 clinics is required, which itself may consume the entirety of 2021.

OMAG is duty-bound to provide free consultancy services to the country, he assured.

Talking about who could be affected by Long-Haul Covid, he said: “Elderly, those with co-morbidities and Covid-19 illnesses are more prone. However, even young and healthy people, who are found Covid antibodies positive later, can feel unwell for weeks to months after infection. Any part of the body can be involved causing Post-Covid Neurological Syndrome (PCNS), Pulmonary syndrome, cardiovascular syndrome that includes potentially life-limiting complications like pulmonary fibrosis and pulmonary vascular disease and hormonal imbalance.”

(Published 21 December 2020, 12:51 IST)

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