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AIPH University Responds to COVID-19 Surge in Odisha via the One Health Center

 

Published: 14th May 2020
https://epaper.newindianexpress.com/c/51884711
By The New Indian Express

PRESS RELEASE     May 13, 2020

AIPH University is expanding its population-based and laboratory activities under the “One Health Center” for Surveillance and Disease Dynamics.  Addressing the Corona virus disease in large number of migrant workers are returning to Odisha is of paramount importance at this time. Monitoring of individuals with and without symptoms and examination of their ability to infect others vs. immunity built in some but not all of them is critical for any country to release the lockdown and allow the societies to return to normalcy in a guarded manner. No concerted effort in India or Odisha has begun in these lines. 

Serology, identification of protective immunity coupled with infectiousness of individuals and those around them need to be strictly monitored on the near term. How this virus and other infectious agents circulate in humans, families, villages and urban areas as well as in domestic animals, birds, and those in the forest needs to be done on a continuous basis, along with testing for antibodies to SARS Cov-2 - said the Director of One Health Center for Surveillance and Disease Dynamics in the school of Public Health Prof. Bramhadev Pattnaik, an eminent virologist and former director, ICAR-Directorate of foot and mouth disease and founding director of ICAR International Center for FMD. Lacking this approach it will be difficult to handle the burgeoning heath care needs and management of second or third waves of infections when the lockdown is relaxed or lifted. Currently, only an RT-PCR test is being done to brand individuals as positive or negative. This test does not tell if the person is immune to COVID disease and if this person can infect others or not. Other countries have recorded re-infection after initial disease and recovery. Several cases of SARS Cov-2 positivity have been seen in Odisha in individuals after 47 days of apparent initial exposure in other states. According to scientists and public health experts it is quite likely that SARS Cov-2 will be an endemic disease (will circulate throughout the year) in India and possibly around the world.  At the same time, other infectious and chronic diseases will not go away. We have to be prepared to address our problems locally - he added. 

Dr. Pinaki Panigrahi, an infectious disease specialist and President of AIPH University commented: "How to deal with it in the context of other sporadic infections such as Cholera and Anthrax and other re-emerging viral infections will be a challenge to the health systems of our state and country. Uninterrupted work and generation of scientific evidence to combat new infections or change in the nature of an existing infection (for example due to mutations in a virus during circulation) is the duty of scientists and public health epidemiologists. There is a need for serious investment in population health, utilization of existing government (ICMR) laboratories established in Rayagada and Kalahandi and training hard core molecular epidemiologists. A new mobile BSL-3 laboratory is being constructed that will be deployed for the first time in the country by AIPH University that will complement these activities. This van can go to any district for sample collection and processing. This will address the issues at the point of need with no loss of time. This revolutionary and pro-active activity will not only reduce mortality, but also morbidity and healthcare expense drastically while nurturing a thriving and healthy society. AIPH University is the only public health institution in the country with field sites, sophisticated laboratories, and attached hospitals. AIPH was the first institution in India to conduct a large scale surveillance of infections in newborns and demonstrated low infection due to bacteria, rather presence of respiratory syncytial virus and mycoplasma in infants. These studies were published in the prestigious journal Lancet, followed by large clinical trial of probiotics demonstrating efficacy of probiotics to prevent sepsis. We are happy to expand our operations in the new areas of importance via research, training, and education in a meaningful manner said Dr. J. Mahapatra, Vice Chancellor of AIPH University.

For questios, Prof. Bramhadev Pattnaik can be contacted at [email protected] or via phone at 79787-98321

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