June 19th, 2020

By Haider Kaleem


COVID-19 must find a new body to host it within two weeks otherwise it will die, says the President of Infection Control Society Pakistan, Prof. Dr. Rafiq Khanani.

In an exclusive conversation with Voicepk.net, Dr Khanani said Pakistan can be free of Covid-19 in two to three months if the state adopts the correct policy to implement strict country wide lockdown.

“The pattern of SARS-CoV 2 is genetically programmed to break under the human body’s defenses within two weeks but if the virus finds a new host the same cycle starts again,” explained Dr Khanani.

According to the infection control expert and virologist, the virus mostly leaves the patient’s body without any symptoms or mild symptoms so the government should take on this vulnerability of COVID-19 immediately.

He added that it seems as if the governments’ healthcare policy makers do not seem to understand the basic science required in controlling this devastating pandemic.

Pulse Lockdown If Not Absolute

“Some people fear the lockdown will go on for too long but in reality if you enforce an absolute lockdown, curbing the spread is a matter of less than two weeks,” shared Prof. Dr. Rafiq Khanani.

He believes the strategy of the ‘Pulse Lockdown’ can also be helpful, which means blocking all kinds of human contact for 15 days twice with an ease between the two phases.

Dr. Khanani told Voicepk.net that “this way if not 100 percent, then 80 to 90 percent of the population will be safe from the virus and then the government will only have to take care of very small pockets of people exposed to the virus by quick contract
tracing just like in China.”

In order to understand how this would work in Pakistan, Dr Khanani explained that the transmission can also be controlled easily in at least 70 percent of the population which is currently not very responsive to the SOPs shared by WHO or the government.

“If proper masking and hand hygiene is understood by families, people can also keep themselves and households clean,especially those where there is not enough space. Those with symptoms should be given an opportunity to move and isolate in quarantine centers which
are trained how to deal with the situation.”

Post COVID-19 Immunity And Mutation

Dr. Khanani explained that after three to four weeks of a COVID-19 patient’s recovery, their body produces enough antibodies which makes the person immune to infection but it cannot be said for how long.

“The studies on other similar viruses have shown that it does not have the tendency to mutate rapidly hence their immunity is expected to stay for at least a year or two but for this version, we are hoping that a recovered patient can be immune for upto six months
for now,” he added.

According to Dr. Khanani, three types of the current virus have been identified including A, B and C. The initial spread in Wuhan was of A type with mild symptoms. The B type of COVID-19 reached Italy and mutated into type C. Both, type B and C seem to show severe symptoms
resulting in more critical patients and fatalities.

“Most likely Pakistan is dealing with all 3 types identified so far hence there are asymptomatic, mild and critical patients” said Dr Khanani.

Currently, over a million citizens have been sent under a lockdown across Pakistan according to the government’s trace, test and quarantine process by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC).

Section 144 has been imposed in all the hotspots of Punjab. All the entry and exit points in the provincial capital, Lahore are also to be monitored by the law enforcement agencies.

Even then around 10,000 SOPs violations were reported to NCOC from across Pakistan only between the 24 hours of Tuesday and Wednesday.