Panel discussion on lessons from COVID-19 held

Published - June 26, 2024 12:29 am IST - CHENNAI

Shruti H Mehta, PhD MPH, speaking at the Scientific symposium on research and care in infectious diseases

Shruti H Mehta, PhD MPH, speaking at the Scientific symposium on research and care in infectious diseases | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

A panel discussion was held on Tuesday by the YRGCARE centre during the Suniti Solomon Memorial Symposium at Taj Club house in Chennai. The discussion titled, ‘Lessons from COVID-19: Back to the future’, looked at key learnings in establishing clinical protocols, developing diagnostics, surveillance and data during the pandemic and how to be better prepared in case of future pandemics.

During the programme, Shruti H. Mehta, Professor of Epidemiology and Chair, Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, highlighted the role of data and surveillance of pathogens in the public health response system. Among the questions that were being looked at were the characteristics of pathogens, their evolution over time, severity of diseases, epidemiological questions of incidence and prevalence and on who was at risk to look at appropriate medication strategies. There is no one data source, she said, and noted that there need to be a balance between readily available data and robust and systematically collected data.

Paul Auwaerter, Professor of Medicine and Clinical Director, Division of Infectious Diseases, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who spoke on clinical protocols, said they had learned to outreach quickly, and sought advice from virologists, anaesthetists, pulmonologists, persons with experience in Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and emergency medicine.

Mark Sulkowski, Professor of Medicine and Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Trials at the university, raised the need to “marry clinical care with clinical research”. He stressed on the need to engage the community and to continue to be more prepared.

Gavin Cloherty, Head, Infectious Disease Research, Abbott Laboratories, said diagnostics are the first line of defence put in the hands of doctors before vaccination and therapeutics.

Also, a facility, which includes speciality laboratories, was dedicated in memory of Dr. Suniti Solomon earlier during the day.

Sunil Suhas Solomon, Managing Trustee, YR Gaitonde Medical, Educational and Research Foundation, Gregory M. Lucas, Professor of Medicine at the university and Amita Gupta, Professor of Medicine and Director, Division of Infectious Diseases Faculty Co-Chair, John Hopkins Gupta Klinksy India Institute at the university also spoke during the event.

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