Season of two viruses? Scientists apprehensive that dengue outbreak could worsen COVID-19 disaster

New Delhi, July 10

As dengue season units in throughout giant components of India with the onset of the monsoon, scientists warn that COVID-19 and the mosquito-borne illness have overlapping signs and fear the nation’s healthcare infrastructure will not be capable of deal with this double whammy.

The affect of a ‘dengue-COVID-19’ season would entail two totally different diagnostic checks and extract an enormous toll on sufferers too, every illness making the opposite extra sophisticated to take care of and maybe extra deadly.

While the variety of COVID-19 instances races in the direction of the 8,00,000-mark with 7,93,802 instances on Friday and 21,604 fatalities, the incidence of dengue can also be excessive.

Based on the 2016-2019 knowledge, virologist Shahid Jameel estimated that India will get about 1,00,000 to 2,00,000 confirmed instances of dengue annually.

According to the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), 1,36,422 dengue instances have been recognized in 2019 and an estimated 132 individuals died.

“The virus is endemic and present around the year in southern India, and in monsoon and early winter in northern India,” Jameel, CEO at DBT/Wellcome Trust India Alliance, a public charity that invests in constructing biomedical sciences and well being analysis framework, advised PTI.

Both COVID-19 and have signs resembling excessive fever, headache and physique ache.

The dengue season could worsen the COVID-19 scenario as each viruses could complement one another, warned Dhrubjyoti Chattopadhyay, virologist and Vice Chancellor of the Amity University in Kolkata.

“This situation is not yet well studied. But the information available from South America is dangerous and found to create a major challenge to their medical infrastructure,” he stated.

“The effect will be very critical. As major symptoms are overlapping, the simultaneous infection will be much more fatal. Weakened immune systems will help the other to be more fatal.” Once the dengue season begins, added virologist Upasana Ray, the an infection spreads aggressively resulting from excessive prevalence of its mosquito vector, aedes aegypti.

“Each season, we experience heavy loads in the hospital wards due to dengue outbreak and those times it gets almost unmanageable. So, have we thought about what will happen when we have two menaces to handle together? Both of them have overlapping symptoms. Are we geared to distinguish if a person has dengue or COVID 19?” requested the senior scientist, CSIR-IICB, Kolkata.

The challenges are many.

Almost each affected person with a three-day fever would wish to endure a take a look at for dengue and one other for the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes COVID-19.

“Considering the current numbers of COVID-19 patients, will our hospitals have beds available for dengue patients? Or will only severe dengue cases be handled at hospitals?” she requested.

Explaining how the viruses manifest within the human physique, Jameel stated the dengue virus enters by way of a mosquito chew by means of the subcutaneous layer of the pores and skin from the place it reaches the lymph nodes which are wealthy in forms of blood cells known as monocytes, macrophages and dendritic cells.

The virus, he stated, primarily reproduces in these cells and might severely alter cytokine manufacturing by these cells, a elementary response to damage and an infection within the physique.

On the opposite hand, SARS-CoV-2 enters the cells primarily by means of mucosal membranes of the mouth and nasal cavity and initially replicates within the epithelial cells of the higher respiratory tract.

“In some instances, nonetheless, the an infection strikes down the trachea into the lungs, the place it infects the air sacs that change oxygen with blood. This causes irritation because the immune system tries to combat the virus and results in fluid accumulation within the lungs, which ends up in respiratory misery and oxygen demand.

“So, you see, both viruses infect via different pathways and different cell types. There would, of course, be overlaps in physiological effects and immunological responses. They would most likely make each disease worse than either infection alone,” Jameel famous.

The most definitely impact, he stated, can be on healthcare capability.

“Since initial clinical presentation is similar — high fever — one would be ignored at the expense of the other. With hospitals mainly in COVID-19 mode, they may also refuse dengue patients,” Jameel stated.

He stated this had been already seen in reference to being pregnant care and deliveries, dialysis and tuberculosis remedy.

“We need to be careful and deploy tests for dengue also for febrile illness. Thankfully, India makes some very good tests for dengue virus, e.g. NS1 antigen test that is positive on the first day of fever,” stated Jameel.

Ray identified that there isn’t a vaccine accessible clinically for both and no particular antiviral to deal with them.

“This infection may show low to severe forms of infection including simple dengue fever, severe dengue and the haemorrhagic fever,” stated Ray.

“We are already amidst the SARS-CoV2 pandemic and hospitals are running out of beds although the government is trying its level best. We are yet to attain enough facility to handle the increasing coronavirus cases every day in India,” she stated.

According to Ray, cautious preparation is required because the nation has little or no time earlier than a full-blown dengue season begins.

“While many dengue patients don’t end up in critical care units (CCUs),  a good fraction do. Do we have enough ICUs and CCUs to tackle dengue and COVID 19 together? Do we have enough trained manpower?”

Healthcare and analysis, she stated, must gear as much as combat this “upcoming very realistic situation”. PTI

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