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Previously infected person at greater risk of re-infection due to double-mutant strain: Microbiologist

Monday, 17 May 2021 (21:17 IST)
Srinagar: Asserting that previously infected persons are at greater risk of re-infection due to double-mutant strain, Dr Lenah Bashir, Lecturer Microbiology, Government Medical College, Srinagar on Monday said that people should get inoculated with two doses of COVID vaccine at an interval of twelve weeks.

She said that double mutant strains of coronavirus are showing heightened infectivity and escape from the body's immune systems, hence increases lethal infections. “Previously infected people have a greater chance of re-infection due to double mutant,” she said.

The Microbiology expert confirmed that vaccines are safe and requested people not to deny themselves of COVID vaccination and avail the opportunity to get inoculated with two doses at the interval of twelve weeks.

“Depriving oneself of vaccination is an unwise decision some people make as they fall for misconceptions spread by Social Media,” she said, while dispelling unverified conceptions.

She maintained that adherence to SOPs and guidelines by normal and symptomatic persons will help to control contagious Coronavirus.

Speaking about the threat of third wave and mitigation measures for it, Dr Lenah Bashir emphasized on extended lockdown, abiding by lockdown rules, avoiding gatherings and mandatory masking. “More importantly vaccination is to be made available to all,” she said. Besides, she said that hospitals have to be strengthened further.

Regarding Black Fungus, she said “it is a fungal infection which affects people with weakened ability to fight infections like diabetes, malignancy etc”. “People should strictly monitor blood glucose levels of such individuals,” she said and advocated for judicious use of steroids while treating patients.

“With prolific sampling of people for SAR COV2, the work pressure on GMC Microbiology Lab has also increased manifold but everything is being managed very diligently and smoothly by the concerned GMC administration and Laboratory Staff while working without relenting,” she added.

She said the Microbiology Department is guiding physicians in diagnosis of the COVID through testing the samples collected at GMC Microbiology Lab and other identified centers.

While mentioning the mild and severe symptoms of the disease, Dr Lenah said that cough, cold, loss of taste and smell, and fatigue are mild symptoms whereas breathlessness is a condition of severe infection. “Severe symptomatic patients should be shifted to hospital for treatment and monitoring,” she said.

Regarding infection detection, she said two types of swabs are collected including nasal and throat swab. She added that Rapid Antigen Testing or RT-PCR will identify the presence of infection. However, she stressed that any individual who will test negative through RAT testing should also go for RT-PCR testing.

While sharing the details regarding availability of results, she said that RAT results are made available within fifteen minutes while RT-PCR takes two days time due to its procedure and heavy load of samples. “To cope up with the demand, the lab is working continuously without any break, to give results within least possible time,” she said.

Dr Lenah said that Real Time revere transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT PCR) is the gold standard for SARS COV2 detection. “This molecular test targets more than one gene of SAR COV 2 I.e N gene & RdRp gene,” she informed about detection of multiple mutants by RTPCR.

Moreover, she said “these targets are considered best for invitro diagnostic detection, hence, it will show similar sensitivity and specificity in such situation.”

“Testing capacities have already been expanded and is being taken care of by the administration in terms of manpower as well as facilities,” she maintained. (UNI)

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