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Vegetarian food, Indian immunity won’t prevent Covid-19, says Anand Krishnan

There is no evidence that choice of food will make any difference in the spread of the virus. Food is certainly not the source of transmission. It may be different for people who live near abattoirs etc.

Written by Abantika Ghosh | New Delhi | Updated: March 15, 2020 1:14:32 pm
Coronavirus cases, Coronavirus cure, Coronavirus symptoms, coronavirus india, coronavirus deaths, coronavirus cases, Coronavirus precautions AIIMS, indian express news Dr. Anand Krishnan

There seems to be an overwhelming optimism that heat will reduce the impact of coronavirus. What do you think?

The chances of survival of the virus will be less as the temperature goes up, but the exact impact is hard to predict. Whatever the impact, one thing is for sure, it will not be drastic.

Many social media messages claim that Indians have a higher immunity because of the conditions we live in and are exposed to. Is that correct?

That is absolute drivel. There is no immunity against the novel coronavirus. It is also difficult to say for certain whether it is impossible to get a second infection because it is a new virus. While in case of some viruses one gets lifelong immunity after the first infection, in other cases that doesn’t happen. But there is no cross immunity — in the sense that an earlier infection caused by some other virus will give you immunity against the coronavirus.

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Many people have switched to vegetarian food for fear of contracting the virus.

There is no evidence that choice of food will make any difference in the spread of the virus. Food is certainly not the source of transmission. It may be different for people who live near abattoirs etc. But if you cook it in your home kitchen and have it, there is no problem. Well-cooked meat is never a problem.

What about the preventive functions of garlic, turmeric, honey etc. Do they help?

These are very general… We have been having garlic for years. If it was really protective we would not have any diseases. These are very general, not specific to any disease, least of all the novel coronavirus.

What is social distancing?

Respiratory infections spread by contact so there are normally restrictions placed on social mixing. A distance of 1-2 metres is good enough for an infection to spread. There are models on how an infection spreads based on available data. That is where the effectiveness of such measures are estimated. However, there are issues related to the availability of such data to cover all population groups.

Dr. Anand Krishnan, Professor, Centre for Community Medicine, AIIMS

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