Global association of Indian physicians launches COVID-19 initiative

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Dr. Prathap K. Reddy, founder chairman of Apollo Hospitals Group, India, speaking in a video on ITV Gold, as part of the Global Indian Physicians COVID 19 Colaborative, April 13, 2020. (Photo: videograb from ITV Gold)

The Global Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (GAPIO), along with several other organizations, announced the launch of the Global Indian Physicians COVID 19 Collaborative, April 13, 2020. The  other organizations involved with the initiative include the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), British Association of Physicians of Indian origin (BAPIO), the Canadian Indian Network Society (CINS) and the Canadian Association of Physicians of Indian Heritage (CAPIH).

The main organizers of the initiative as well as those leading the fight against COVID-19, appeared on ITV Gold, a television channel which is part of Parikh Worldwide Media, founded by Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, a physician and entrepreneur  in the United States.

The Collaborative focused on the varying situations in different countries,

Speakers featured in the video include Founder Chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group, India  Dr. Prathap C Reddy; Dr. Patrice Harris, president of the American Medical Association; Dr. Vinod Paul, member NITI AAYOG, India; Dr. Bobby Mukkamala, member of the Board of Trustees of the American Medical Association;  Professor Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine in United Kingdom, Dr. Kamlesh Khunti, and Dr. Parikh, Dr. Ramesh Mehta, president of BAPIO;  Dr. Arun Garg from Canada; Dr. Nand Kumar Jairam from Bangalore, former vice president of GAPIO; Dr. Anju Aggarwal, former vice president of the Australian Indian Medical Graduates association; Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda of Douglas, Georgia; and Dr. Sunil Patel, president of CAPIH.

“We are now witnessing World War Three, a war that has engulfed more than 200 countries and territories in just 100 days, infecting more than 1.6 million people and taking away the lives of more than 900,000,” said Dr. Reddy. He said the world will never be the same again, and it has made people realize that there are no borders, that the human race can break the barriers it has erected, and to take up the challenge to stop this virus.

Dr. Paul of NITI AAYOG sounded a positive note saying India has a “vibrant” industry in terms of technoloy, pharmaceuticals, biomedical devices, and a plethora of laboratories. “And we have mounted a concerted effort.” He said there are at least 3 Indian doagnostic kits that have been put on gthe market; 4 vaccine candidates being developed in at least four laboratories, and “I’m happy to tell you that our industry is already working with collaborators outside India to take forward four potential vaccines.”

Dr. Harris called for a global effort to battle the virus.

Dr. Mukkamala , also from the AMA, described the spread of the disease in Greater Detroit, and how it was affecting underserved populations more than others.

Dr. Sudhir Parikh, secretary general of GAPIO, said, “I am coming from the epicenter of COVID-19. Lot of our Indian physicians are on the frontlines working hard against all odds.” He also noted some flattening of the curve and reduced hospital admissions in the area.

Dr. Suresh Reddy, current president of AAPI, said he believed ‘convalescent plasma’ will be the key to defeating. His organization has approached President Trump as well as governors of states in the U.S., to put these plasma collection sites into operation.

Dr. Khunti from U.K. shared interesting ethnic data, which he said showed the virus was affecting minorities more than others. “We are seeing more South Asians at a younger age in intensive care units.” and added that the first report on ICU admissions, shows that South Asians and Blacks were disporportionately affected. “About 35 percent of people in intensive care units were of Black minority ethic populations,” Dr. Khunti noted.

Dr. Sanku Rao, past-president of GAPIO, described how the disease proceeds from the nasal area where it remains for two to three days before moving down. He also said Wuhan, China families practised warm salt water gargling which could have prevented all members from getting infected despite having someone with the virus in the family.

Dr. Ramesh Mehta, president of BAPIO,  said the numbers in U.K. were “not good” and still rising. “Thirty two healthcare workers have died, 14 of them doctors, and all of them from Black and minority communities,” Dr. Mehta said. The BAPIO had offered to study the reason for this phenomenon, he added.

Dr. Arun Garg from Canada called on scientists and thers to look beyond the current crisis to long term sustainable solutions.

Dr. Nan Kumar Jairam from Bangalore, vice president of GAPIO, addressed the psychological impact of COVID-19.

Dr. Anju Aggarwal from Australia, pointed to that country’s advantages as an island, able to shut down incoming travelers early on, now showing the lowest numbers of affected people, and deployment of rapid testing.

Dr. Sunil Patel of Canada (CAPIH) noted the different provinces of his country registering different results depending on the restrictions applied to travel and physical distancing. “Countries such as India which have chosen to take extreme measures are already showing results,” he noted.

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