According to Meghna Desai, head of the CDC in India, Covid-19 has reached a stage where the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) no longer views it as a major threat to people’s health but rather as just another disease.
She stated in an interview that it is still unclear whether the virus was created in a lab. Desai also discussed the CDC’s activities in India and the public health system of that nation.
Do you think covid-19 pandemic has come to endemicity, in India and the world?
According to the CDC and the US authorities, we are prepared to change our approach in the US and believe that the day will soon come when we can control COVID-19 without the use of lockdowns and other preventative measures.
Although SARS-CoV-2 is still a top concern for public health, we are now better equipped to deal with it. We can categorically state that we have reached a position where COVID-19, which is basically what most endemic diseases are, doesn’t need to interfere with our life. We must make sure that all of our testing, vaccinations, and boosters are current.
Covid-19, however, is no longer viewed as a serious concern to public health. Covid-19 is just one more illness.
Do you believe that SARS-CoV-2 was created in a lab and first originated in China?
On that, the jury is still out. That’s probably because there isn’t any evidence, in my opinion. We currently have a lot of pressing issues to deal with, including the West African Marburg virus outbreak disease. Finding the origin of a specific virus (SARS-CoV-2) is not a CDC priority at this time, so our reaction remains intact.
What do you think about the most recent CDC report on tainted Indian cough syrups in the Gambia? Why are drugs made in India believed to be of low quality in other nations?
For an outbreak, the CDC offers technical help in the form of surveillance, epidemiological investigation, and epidemiological data analysis. But because it is not a regulatory body, the CDC rarely gets involved in matters involving the production of drugs, testing for quality control, or supply chains.
What is the Field Epidemiology Training Programme?
The FETP programme, which is the CDC’s flagship programme for training field epidemiologists, is a well-known workforce development program. The goal is to improve epidemiology practise in a mentored environment and use such abilities to identify diseases.
The program’s goal is to develop highly qualified epidemiologists who will work on the front lines to improve monitoring systems, find diseases, and manage threats to the public’s health. Over the course of the past 40 years, we have educated 21,000 disease detectives in more than 80 different countries and assisted more than 5,600 epidemic investigations.
Since we started providing this training in India ten years ago, about 1,000 people have benefited from it, 370 of them have completed more difficult FETP program.
Via three hubs—the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC), National Institute of Epidemiology, and WHO Country Office—training is being provided across the nation. We now have a plan to cover the remaining 60% of the districts that still lack field epidemiologists. Approximately 40% of the districts have been covered with trained graduates.
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