COVID-19 patients can return to hospitals after recovery as new dimensions of post-COVID sub-acute morbidities, including respiratory symptoms, immunological reactions in children and fibrosis in lung, are coming to the fore, said the government.
This came after Union Home Minister Amit Shah admitted to AIIMS in New Delhi on August 18 for post COVID care after complaining of fatigue and body ache. Shah, who was earlier undergoing treatment for coronavirus infection at Medanta Hospital, on August 14 said that he has tested negative for the disease.
Dr VK Paul, member (health), NITI Aayog said it is happening to an extent, but not at a dangerously alarming level, as per a report by Mint. But everyone should remain all the more careful because the novel coronavirus may cause damage after recovery phase too, Paul was quoted as saying.
“We will use the treatment modalities available with us as and when required to deal with such cases,” said Dr Paul.
Paul further said that the scientific and medical community is keeping an eye on it.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Talking about the COVID-19 crisis in India, Paul said the progressive increase in the recovery rate and decrease in mortality rate is "reassuring" and are "positive signals" indicating that the COVID-19 pandemic is under check.
"Also, the number of COVID-19 testing per day has gone up to 9 lakh per day which is remarkable. Testing is the key for disease containment and reducing mortality and improving outcome," he said.
Stating that it has come to notice that some people are becoming lax over maintaining social distancing norms, hand hygiene and wearing masks, Paul warned that it may result in losing the gains that have been made so far.
On the dip in daily new cases over the past five days, Paul said though the weekly update of COVID-19 situation looks reassuring, the challenge is not yet over.
"There is quite a big susceptible population in the country, so the virus still has the chance to harm us," he said.
On the vaccine front, Paul, who chairs the national expert group on vaccine administration for COVID-19, referred to the Prime Minister's Independence Day speech that three vaccines are being developed in India and are in different stages of human trials.
"One of them will enter phase 3 trial today or tomorrow. The other two are in phase 1 and 2 trials. We have reviewed the vaccine candidates and there is a good progress happening," he said.
An outline for the supply chain of the vaccine and how it would be made available is ready, Paul added.
(With inputs from PTI)Follow our full coverage on COVID-19 here.