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COVID-19 Update

 

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SARS CoV-2, also known as COVID-19 has caused unprecedent damage to life, livelihood, human moral, and public health around the world – something not seen by the humanity during the last century. Physicians and scientists around the world have been humbled and politicians reminded of their true strength. The world is united to fight Corona virus and now recognizes that “public health” is more important than “health”. It does not matter how rich or sophisticated healthcare delivery system a country may have, it all comes to disease surveillance, reporting, containment, and prevention when we want to save lives.



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AIPH University principals, faculty members, and collaborators within and outside of India are engaged in fighting this deadly disease. These activities include epidemiology, simply disease modeling, and proactive planning to address the aftermath of the disease in coming months. Faculty members are also working with national institutes in Delhi and international partners to develop diagnostic kits and study infection and immunity in the Indian population that could provide important clues for vaccine development not just for COVID-19 but gaining insights for future such outbreaks as well. It plans to use its large cohorts where the first neonatal sepsis surveillance of India was conducted and utilize new tools of biology and informatics to bring the fruits of public health to India and the world.

COVID-19 belongs to a large family of viruses called Coronaviruses. These are not new to scientists and medical professionals and are known to cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses. There are many corona viruses that circulate among bats, pigs, camels, and cats and occasionally jump to humans causing disease. Seven such jumps have been identified of which four causing mild sickness, but three gave rise to serious sickness in humans.

Corona virus SARS-CoV emerged in 2002 and caused severe acute respiratory syndrome. Fortunately, this virus was not seen after 2004. The Middle East respiratory syndrome caused by the MERS coronavirus was identified in 2012 that continues sicken people sporadically. The worst nightmare of the century was brought about in 2019 by a third novel coronavirus, now known as COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2). This emerged from China in December 2019 and was declared by WHO as a global pandemic on March 11, 2020.

COVID-19 has been reported in more than 213 countries and has now infected more than 4.8 million people killing more than 316,846 by May 18, 2020. The USA tops the list with 1,527,664 cases and 90,978 deaths followed by Russia, Spain, UK, Brazil, and Italy. India has attracted world attention due to its swift and bold response to Covid-19 and instituted lockdowns for containing the spread in the highly populous country. Although rising, and new pockets of infections are being reported, on May 18th, 56316 active cases and 3029 deaths were reported by the government.


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