Covid far from over, develop therapeutics

The Covid-19 pandemic is far from over. Periodic surges with the emergence of even more infectious strains are more than just making headline news. Allowing for a return to ‘normalcy’ minus precautions is premature. India must focus on developing therapeutics, vaccines that provide better immunity. It also needs to understand and develop treatments for the after-effects of Covid and ‘long Covid’.

When it comes to understanding the impacts of the disease, India, with its population and diversity, is well placed. It provides robust data that is invaluable for researchers as they work to develop treatments, a vaccine with higher immunity potential, and understanding how Covid affects health in the medium to long term. India must leverage its data and take the lead in developing effective options to treat Covid. For this, GoI must allocate funds, as it did with the initial vaccine development phase, and leverage public funds for private participation.

It must provide funds to research institutions for further work on Covid and other zoonotic diseases. This will give Indian pharma, biotechnology and healthcare sectors a boost. Additionally, there is a need to develop agile medical systems. Periodic surges in cases and hospitalisations, and the need for regular testing, require a healthcare system that has the capacity to deal with such effluxes and be able to provide constant access to medical services. This requires a robust primary healthcare system, and an increased engagement on preventive measures including improved sanitation and healthier diets. Experts warn of increased zoonotic diseases. GoI must create the conditions and help build on the experience of dealing with Covid to tackle the next zoonotic disease with success.


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