Let’s keep pace with the world on covid research

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Relevance: Covid-19 research is essential for controlling the pandemic.


India has been behind the curve on tracing virus variants by their genomes. However, a new brain-study initiative points to the potential of forging ahead with work on Covid’s pathology.

About India’s Covid-19 research capability:

So far, India has mostly been behind the curve on pandemic research. For example, India learned only later that the Delta variant caused a deadly second wave of infections that overwhelmed hospitals and revealed other inadequacies. By contrast, other countries have been tracking the virus’s variants closely. Further, British endeavors revealed many pieces of information about the Delta variant.

About the Covid-19 impact on the human body:

During the early stages of the outbreak, the Covid-19 thought to invade the lungs, chiefly, causing potentially fatal pneumonia, ‘cytokine storms’ in severe cases. But later, the researchers found that no organ of the human body was beyond the scope of its virulence. The bug can hit the pancreas, heart, liver, intestines, kidney, brain, and gall bladder.

The global surveys on Covid-19 impact on the brain:

Covid is observed to increase ‘oxidative stress’, with healthy cells impaired by ‘free radicals’ created by excessive oxidation, while depletion of antioxidants has been associated with neurological problems like rapid aging, memory loss, and brain fog.

  • A recent study in the UK found Covid causing a loss of gray matter, which could meddle with various functions of the brain. It compared several hundred brain scans of covid survivors with pre-covid records held in a database.
  • An American survey released in April had said that every third person who’d had the disease displayed a psychiatric or brain disorder within six months of infection.
Indian initiatives to find Covid-19 impact on brain:
  • India proposed a brain-mapping study of infected individuals who have either recovered or shown no symptoms.
  • Neuroscientists at the state-run National Brain Research Centre (NBRC), Gurugram, aim to delve into covid’s impact on the most vital organs.

Steps India needs to do:

  • India needs to redeem its reputation as a country. India needs to research the fundamental work on what covid does to the human body and how best to counter it.
  • Since little is known about covid’s pathology, especially its extended effects, uncovering its trail of ailments as the virus evolves is a health imperative

Terms to know: 

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