Dr Bellur S. Prabhakar, Associate Dean and Professor at the University of Illinois, Chicago, USA. (University of Illinois, Chicago)The novel coronavirus pandemic continues to threaten the lives of people through its deadly transmission across the globe. As for India, in spite of the strong measures taken by the authorities, new cases continue to emerge on a daily basis. To understand the importance of a lockdown extension, and to enquire about the potential transmission patterns and cures for COVID-19, The Weather Channel got in touch with eminent microbiologist, Dr. Bellur S. Prabhakar. He has a broad experience in virology, immunology, and public health, and has been extensively working on autoimmune diseases for over 30 years. (Aditya Waikul/Pune TOI/BCCL )Like in other countries, the number of new cases and spread of infection is uneven, with Mumbai and Delhi being the hardest hit. If the number of new cases fail to decline and there is evidence of wider community spread, it is prudent to extend the lockdown, as it is the only known effective way to mitigate the virus transmission. Additionally, elderly individuals are likely to suffer from one or more underlying chronic conditions (e.g. diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory ailments, etc.) This combination of weakened immune system and underlying risk factors prevent them from effectively fighting the infection; and as a consequence, they suffer from a more severe disease. Although many of these options will be available in the near future, they all need to be tested both for safety and efficacy in clinical trials before they are globally deployed for treating COVID-19.
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