Covid to Become Like Common Cold, But Lots We Don't Understand About It Yet: Sir Malcolm Grant

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COVID-19 will become like the common cold in due course but that will take a while as “there is still so much about coronavirus that we do not understand”, said Sir Malcolm Grant, the Founder Chair of England’s National Health Service. Addressing the India Today Conclave 2021, he said India has got an opportunity to bring a significant change to what is already being done in the healthcare segment.

“In India, the complexities are enormous as social conditions differ from state to state. Investment in healthcare need not always come from the government. The private sector can be a driver of change and improvement in the healthcare system in India,” Grant, who is also the chancellor of the University of York, said.

He said COVID-19 would become like the common cold in due course but it will take a long time as “there is still so much about coronavirus that we do not understand”. “It is still a raging pandemic. In the United States, there are 53,000 deaths each week. In Europe, the incidence of cases is quite high even though hospitalisations and death rates have come down.

“A big challenge will be the winter season in the northern hemisphere where transmission could be greater due to people being indoors,” Grant said. Describing himself as a “huge fan” of the Adar Poonawalla-led Serum Institute of India, Grant said India should invest more in the healthcare system.

The Pune-based Serum Institute is manufacturing the Covishield vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. About future health policy, Grant said early detection of diseases in the population using technology would be the key.

“A new workforce should be trained and digitally educated. Their training should be within communities and in remote areas, not just in hospitals. The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that healthcare can be done without going into physical examination of patients in every case,” he said.

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