GMC Microbiologist On Covid19 Diagnosis, Third Wave And Black Fungus

SRINAGAR: Dr Lenah Bashir, a young Microbiology lecturer at GMC has said her department is helping physicians in the diagnosis of the Covid19 through testing the samples. The work pressure on GMC Microbiology Lab has increased manifold but everything is being managed very diligently and smoothly by the GMC administration.

GMC Srinagar

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. 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 RTPCR testing.

While sharing the details regarding the availability of results, she said that RAT results are made available within fifteen minutes while RTPCR 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 the least possible time.

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  – gene and RdRp gene”, she informed about detection of multiple mutants by RTPCR. “These targets are considered best for in-vitro diagnostic detection, hence, it will show similar sensitivity and specificity in such situation.”

Regarding the double mutant Covid19 virus, she said that double mutant strains of SAR COV2 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.

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The Microbiology expert confirmed that vaccines are safe and requested people not to deny themselves of Covid19 vaccination and avail themselves 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 on 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.

On the third wave and mitigation measures for it, Dr Lenah Bashir emphasized 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.

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.

Regarding Black Fungus, she said, “it is a fungal infection which affects people with weakened ability to fight infections like diabetes, malignancy etc.” and advised to strictly monitor blood glucose levels of such individuals and judicious use of steroids. In this regard, she said not to hesitate to seek medical attention and relevant microbiological investigations.

(This is an edited version of a feature that DIPR-JK released in the day)

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