‘Covid-19 will be around for a while’

Chennai: Testing for Covid-19 has become part of our lives. Healthcare centres and laboratories have become essential services we cannot do without.

Even as the world awaits the launch of vaccines, scientist and entrepreneur, Dr Velumani, who is the founder and managing director of Thyrocare Laboratories, speaks about Covid-19, mass testing and the way forward.

“If HIV, HBV and HCV are around for the last 50 years, so are all viruses. It is not easy to wipe a virus out. Its impact can be reduced by immunity, vaccines and drugs – not that we can kill it by lockdowns or doing millions of tests,” he says.

On vaccines, he says, “It is a lengthy procedure to put vaccines to use. Vaccines take longer than a year. A good vaccine may take five years to identify. But if any vaccine comes after 50 per cent of the public gets antibodies, it will serve very little purpose, though companies that bring in vaccines can make huge business.”

According to him, there is no yardstick for testing. The richer a country or state is, more testing should be done. India overall has done a good number of testing, though tests per million population is too low. Some states have spent adequate for testing.

 

Naomi N