Tamarind and turmeric could be a reason behind low Covid fatalities in Tamil Nadu, says panelist at Bennett University webinar | India News
Does vitamic C protect you from Covid-19? Can having turmeric help you recover faster from this upper-respiratory tract infection? The answer is not a clear yes or no. Dr Shriram Raghavan from Jananom Pvt Ltd, a science startup in Kovaipudur, Tamil Nadu believes that the local diet could be a reason why the state has seen fewer deaths due to Covid-19. “When this virus enters the lungs it releases lot of free radicals that cause inflammation. If the infected person is eating a diet rich in anti-oxidants — like in turmeric and tamarind — that mop up free radicals it can help them recover better,” said Raghavan who was a panelist in a session on Nutrition and Public Health held as part of a day-long webinar hosted by the Bennett University on Thursday.

Dr Arunansu Talukdar, another panelist and professor general medicine at Kolkata Medical College, agreed with Dr Raghavan and added that taking supplements rich in zinc, vitamins A, C, B6, iron etc can help in boosting immunity and offering a stronger defence against the infection. He cited example of rural communities in Bengal and Assam who eat lot of green leafy vegetables and green chillies — rich in anti-oxidants — in their daily diet and exhibit stronger immunity against infectious diseases.

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The panelists also tackled myths around food and Covid-19, like taking high doses of vitamin C can cure this infection. Dr Suravi Chatterjee-Woolman, surgical resident with the NHS and on Covid-19 duty, said, “All research shows that people who take 200 mg vitamin C for a long duration are sick with common cold for a fewer days compared to those who don’t take it at all. Vitamin C is not a treatment. The best thing to do is to eat a balanced diet, rest well and stay active.”

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However, Dr Omesh Kumar Bharti, state epidemiologist with Himachal Pradesh, warned against linking food with an unknown virus like Covid-19 and reiterated importance of having a good balanced diet.

Apart from discussing the role of food in Covid-19 the panelists also discussed the importance of following social distancing and hand hygiene in preventing the spread of the disease. Dr Talukdar drew attention to the fact that using ACs can lead to the spread of the pandemic. “Because virus can stay longer in air conditioned spaces. It’s important to keep rooms airy and well-ventilated,” Dr Talukdar said. He also advised using masks made of polyester fabric instead of cotton because synthetic fabrics generate static electricity that provide better protection from the virus than cotton.

The session closed with a recorded address of Adar Poonawala, CEO Serum Institute of India Pvt Ltd, in which he said that vaccine manufacturers need to join hands to make billions of doses. And he added that in this hour of need manufacturers need not hide vaccines behind patents but make them available to everyone. “At SII we won’t be patenting our vaccine against Covid-19, which should be ready by 2021” he said.

2020-04-17 17:41:41
April 17, 2020