Containing the Nipah Virus: An Inspiring Talk by Dr. Govindakarnavar Arunkumar
As part of the Global Health program, the department has launched a great initiative called the Global Health Speaker Series. This series entails informative talks by guest speakers who are experts from different backgrounds in the global health community.
On October 22, 2018, Dr. Govindakarnavar Arunkumar kickstarted the series by giving an enticing lecture on his research on Nipah virus. Dr. Arunkumar is a Professor and Head of the influenza lab at Manipal Centre for Virus Research in Manipal, India. The talk was very intriguing as he shared his experience on being the first doctor to detect Nipah outbreak in India. After detecting Nipah as the cause of patient’s demise, his mission to prevent the spread of the highly infectious rare viral disease began. Unconcerned his own security, Dr. Arunkumar flew to Kerala, the epicenter of the virus. Because transmission of Nipah is so high, he educated the health workers on appropriate contact with patients and motivated them to continue working despite being in close proximity of such a deadly disease. He mentioned that the key to early detection is good connectivity between the hospital and the lab and preparedness of the lab which was the case for this incident. Dr. Arunkumar’s early detection of the virus is what stopped it from turning into an epidemic.
Upon leaving that room, I, along with others, felt so inspired by Dr. Arunkumar’s dedication and determination in remedying the situation. It was evident from his address that he was deeply passionate about research and healthcare. With over 50 attendees consisting of students and faculty, the question and answer session was buzzing. It was refreshing to see Dr. Arunkumar’s drive and humility to incapacitate a fatal disease which may have ruined the lives of thousands had it not been contained. This event reignited the sparks of many, amongst the audience to realize the purposes of contributing to healthcare.
Raajia Abdur RehmanStudent Blog