Researchers have predicted a rise in cases and deaths associated with cancer, Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) and tuberculosis (TB) as a result of disruptions to health services by the COVID-19 pandemic globally.
Also,based on evidence from tissue studies and coronavirus patients suggest that the disease might trigger diabetes by damaging insulin-producing cells, even as the investigators established that persistent cough and fever were most prevalent symptoms associated with the COVID-19 virus.
According to the European Respiratory Journal publidhed yesterday, before the emergence of the dreaded COVID-19, over 4,000 people were dying daily from TB.
The examiners hypothesised that social distancing might reduce TB incidences as mycobacterium tuberculosis – the causative bacterium is transmitted via droplets in the air – in a similar fashion with coronavirus.
But taking into account this potentially reduced TB transmission, the most likely scenario was estimated to result in more than 110,000 fresh deaths. In the worst-case scenario, the figure could rise to up to 200,000 deaths.
The first author and Assistant Professor in Infectious Disease Epidemiology at LSHTM, Dr. Finn McQuaid, noted: “There is concern that the COVID-19 pandemic is resulting in decreased TB clinic attendance, delayed diagnosis and treatment. This is especially so in low and middle-income countries where health services, or access to them, might be substantially disrupted. Early anecdotal information from China, India and South Africa suggest that the number of people being diagnosed and treated for TB has reduced significantly.”
Also, a new analysis by the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) has revealed the possible potential impact the virus could have on low and middle-income nations worldwide, particularly supplies of generic antiretroviral medicines to treat HIV.
The survey reported that the lockdowns imposed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 were seriously affecting the production and distribution of medicines, causing an increase in prices and cost.
The Executive Director of UNAIDS, Winnie Byanyima, said: “It is vital that countries urgently make plans now to lessen the impact of higher cost and reduced availability of antiretroviral medicines.”
According to the global agency, since 24.5 million people were on antiretroviral therapy at the end of June 2019, millions of people could be endangered –owing to an increased risk of HIV transmission – if treatment is not made accessible.
Moreover, the Executive Secretary, Mass Medical Mission (MMM), Dr. Abia Nzelu, has lamented the rising cancer-related deaths, saying the coronavirus pandemic had posed a great risk to patients nationwide. She spoke in a statement to mark the 2020 International Cancer Survivors Day (ICSD).
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