Hyderabad: Dr Vijay Yeldandi is a Hyderabadi who had his schooling in Chhattisgarh. In 1975, he joined Gandhi Medical College, Hyderabad and completed his medical studies. Then he left for Chicago, USA, and took training in Internal Medicine. Afterward, from Detroit University, he did specialisation in infectious diseases. He has more than 35 years of experience in the treatment and management of infectious diseases. Therefore, to gain useful information and to benefit from his immense experience, Siasat News has recorded a video interview for the readers.
Dr Yeldandi says, in America, three types of training for infectious diseases are compulsory. One is clinical infectious disease, that involves the treatment of the patient. Second is laboratory medicine, that explains how to diagnose diseases in the laboratory with help of chemical microbiology. And the third one is hospital epidemiology, which helps in tracing how a person got infected, the manner in which the disease is spreading and measures to be taken for its control. So, epidemiology means to study any infectious disease which is spreading among the masses.
Since 2005, Dr Yeldandi with his team is working in India for HIV programme. His team has 60 members and they work with National Aids Control Organisation (NACO). Before the bifurcation of Telangana and Andhra, he worked with Andhra Pradesh State Aids Control Society (APSACS) and is still working with APSACS.
Dr Yeldandi further adds that their job is related to epidemiology, laboratory support, and also related to programme support especially to HIV and Tuberculosis (TB). The fund for their entire work comes from United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (USCDCP). He asserts that from 2005 to 2020, they have spent Rs.112 crores on HIV and TB.
Since Covid-19 has broken-out, they have started working on the virus as well. His team for epidemiology has published two papers on modelling, stating what can happen in Telangana, how many people may get infected and how many people may need to be admitted in hospitals. This is called modelling.
Dr Yeldandi says, due to lockdown there has been a remarkable reduction of positive cases in Telangana. He says, the cases may have been reduced to 97 percent. In spite of this extraordinary achievement, they already had an idea of a possible significant increase in positive cases in Hyderabad.
He says, first we should know how to control this disease and take care of the people who are already infected and what medicines have to be administered. And secondly, the public should be educated to make them know what precautions they have to take. Being a Hyderabadi, he used a typical Hyderabadi slang, saying that the public should not be threatened khali peeli (unnecessarily), otherwise they may not do what they are supposed to do. If one is explained with love and affection they would understand easily. If we approach with dadagiri (bossy attitude), then it would become impossible to control the danger of Covid-19. So, Dr Yeldandi is of the opinion that public should be educated in a lenient and decent manner, explaining them that Covid is a highly infectious disease which spreads fast and can be controlled efficiently with simple precautions like; having unpolluted air, using masks, maintaining hygiene and cleanliness, keeping washrooms clean, etc.
Symptoms of Covid-19
People who are already infected by Covid-19 may have some or all of the following symptoms:
Tastelessness, Loss of smell, Vomiting, Dysentery, Body pain, Fever, Cough, Breathlessness.
If they have any of these symptoms, they must start taking medicines immediately. It has not yet been proved whether there is any advantage of anti-viral drugs, it is still in the research stage. Recently, Drug Controller General of India has conditionally approved only two anti-viral medicines; Remdesivir, which is very expensive and another less expensive one is Fabliflu. Both the medicines are in the market but their benefits have not been proved yet.
Dr Yeldandi says in Sha Allah, it is hoped these medicines may be useful, but it may take some time to get the study report. But, one thing that has been proved about this disease is that, anti-inflammatory medicines should be started immediately. Especially for the patients whose oxygen level has come down and who are facing acute breathing problem. For these patients, Dexamethasone has found to be effective. It is a steroid and is very cheap. The doctor says, it should not be given to all; it should only be given to those patients whose oxygen level has come down considerably. Other patients may not be aided. Because, every medicine is a poison, it has side its own side-effects, that is why a doctor must think twice before he prescribes the medicine. This is the reason is why the doctors check the patient’s oxygen level with oximeter before prescribing Dexamethasone. A typical symptom of Covid-19 is that the patients feel a burning sensation in their body, which is called inflammation. Due to this inflammation, many parts of the body like lungs, kidneys, heart get damaged, some may get strokes too. So, in such cases a patient should be given anti-inflammatory medicines. There are many anti-inflammatory medicines which reduce the inflammation. One of them is famotidine, which was used earlier for treating peptic ulcers. Another medicine is N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine. He further says, there is another interesting medicine which is called as Colchicine. Earlier it was used to treat gout (a disease that cause painful swelling in joints especially in toes, knees and fingers). There is a Greek study which has proved that this medicine has done wonders for the Covid-19 patients. Therefore, these medicines should be started to reduce the inflammation. Another medicine called Statin is used to reduce cholesterol and is also given to the patients who are suffering from heart diseases. This medicine also reduces burning sensation in the body. So, doctors prefer to start these medicines as soon as possible for patients who has Covid-19 symptoms.
Apart from these medicines, Fabliflu tablets may also be given, but it should not be given to pregnant women and those who have kidney problems. Dr Yeldandi warns that these medications cannot be given to everybody, it has to be administered with great care. He further adds, Ramdesivir is an expensive medicine, it has to be given intravenously and this medicine also cannot be given to everybody especially in cases of severe kidney infections and pregnancy. But, medicines to reduce the inflammation like famotidine, Colchicine, N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine can be given to anybody to reduce inflammation as they are not much harmful. In Sha Allah they will prove beneficial, says Dr Yeldandi.