On April 23, 2022 the weekly Health Live@ Seniors Today webinar addressed the new COVID XE variant, its prevention and cure for seniors with Dr Kriti Sabnis, an infectious disease specialist at Fortis, Mumbai.
Dr Kirti Sabnis, Infectious Disease Specialist, Fortis Hospital, Mumbai has completed her MBBS from the Dr DY Patil Medical College, Kolhapur and is a Postgraduate, Diplomate of National Board in Infectious Diseases from Bangalore Baptist Hospital, Bangalore. She has also done a two-year Postdoctoral Clinical Fellowship in Infectious Diseases, Christian Medical College, Vellore. With nearly a decade’s experience in infectious diseases and specialised training on HIV treatment, Venereal Diseases, Immunization, Infectious diseases and tuberculosis, Dr Kirti Sabnis plays a crucial role in the battle against Covid-19. Not just patient care, she has also extended her efforts to community care, by leading multiple digital initiatives that were aimed at community education empowerment.
Covid is a respiratory virus and thus we are bound to see a few changes, variations and changes in the virus that eventually leads to an increase in the number of cases as the season changes. The coronavirus in itself is a highly shape changing virus or as we call it, a “mutagenic” virus.
We are seeing a rise in the number of cases due to the mutations and the variations in the virus. And even though there has been a rise in the number of cases, there has been no increase in the rate of admission in the hospitals. This is because even though, because of the new variant there has been a rise in the number of individuals who are testing positive, these individuals can be, and are being managed comfortably at home with home quarantine.
Most of the individuals who have been testing positive, have been observed to be individuals who have either low immunity, any other comorbidities condition or are in an immunocompromised state such as individuals on chemotherapy, transplant patients. It is these individuals who are mostly testing positive and require medical attention and hospitalisation.
The XE variant of the coronavirus is more transmissible than the other variants that we have come across. And so, we need to ensure that people most vulnerable to contract the virus, which includes- young children, below the age of 5 years of age, people with low immunity, on immunosuppressants, individuals with uncontrolled diabetes, and other individuals with comorbidities or in an immunocompromised state- take all the precautions just as they did before.
Young individuals with no comorbid conditions, even if they catch the infection, the severity of the disease will be mild and they will not take too long to recover.
As a strategy, we need to ensure that all individuals have taken their age appropriate dosage of the vaccine.
If you are in an immunocompromised state, transplant patients, patients over the age of 60, Dr Kriti recommends that you take your booster dose as well.
You can take the booster dose 9 months after receiving the second dose of the covid vaccine.
We will likely be seeing a surge in the number of cases in the next month or so, and thus it is recommended that patients with a weak immune system take their booster dose before we see the peak of the wave.
There has been a lot of talk about whether you should mix the 2 vaccines, and what Dr Kriti has to say is that there have been studies, even though conducted on a limited population that says that regardless of whether there has been any mixing of the 2 vaccines or not, the immune response produced in both individuals is similar.
Dr Kriti also commented on the government making it not compulsory to wear a mask anymore when out in a public place, saying that if you are in a well lit and ventilated room where you know the people and trust them to be honest about their history only then would she recommend that you take your mask off.
When you’re out in public, you can wear a surgical mask or a double mask with a cloth mask and a surgical one, but when you have to go to places that are known to be infected such as a hospital, it is best that you wear an N-95 mask.
It is suggested that you change your mask everyday rather than wearing the same mask again and again.