The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has directed all ward officers to conduct a study to understand the treatment protocol used for tuberculosis (TB) patients during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Free Press Journal had two days ago reported that less than 2 per cent of TB contracted Covid-19 since the outbreak. Meanwhile, the civic body is also planning to run samples from TB patients through genome-sequencing machines to understand which medicine is useful or resistant in their treatment.
Additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani said that TB patients are the most vulnerable but only 1.6 per cent were infected. The rest of them were safe, which raised the question whether the treatment protocol used for them can be used for treating Covid-19 patients
According to BMC data, 25,303 TB patients have been tested for Covid-19; of these, only 452 were detected with the virus, while 37 lost their lives.
Kakani said they held meetings with all ward officers and discussed the treatment protocol used for TB patients during the pandemic that prevented contracting the virus. “We are open to new treatment protocols that can help us treat seriously or mildly-ill Covid-19 patients. We have asked them to collect samples from nine wards and run a thorough study; this is likely to start next week,” he added.
Dr Lalit Anande, former superintendent, Municipal TB Hospital Sewri, said they feared that both the virus and TB disease would attack the lungs of patients in both the first and the second waves. “When some personnel working in the hospital ward were found positive and isolated, we feared that the patients who came into contact with them might also get infected, but this did not happen. It’s a subject of research,” he said.
Senior doctors said many health campaigns have been badly affected due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the TB campaign has not been affected much.
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