Sunday, January 18, 2015

Dr Robert Gallo - interview

As the country frets over how to contain Ebola in the event of an outbreak, eminent American virologist Dr Robert Gallo, who had substantially attributed AIDS to HIV, reassures that vaccines are available for Ebola, and that the public administration has to play a prominent role in making their benefits available to patients.   “Experiments are currently on to develop around 12 vaccines for Ebola. Of which, three have turned out to be successful,” he said.

Dr Gallo was in Kochi on Sunday in connection with the International Conclave on Cancer Care, hosted by Aster Medcity.

“Though the fear of Ebola is gripping the whole world, with the recent outbreak termed as the worst in the history, the real villain is HIV that is capable of literally squeezing life out of man. Unlike HIV, Ebola will not leave its gene in human beings. It is a fleeting phenomenon,” Gallo pointed out.
“Millions of people have died of AIDS, and some people are not aware of the fact that they are infected with HIV. Some of the infected persons do not get proper medication, while some fail to find competent doctors,” he said. When asked about curing AIDS, Dr Gallo said, “a biological cure for AIDS still remains a distant reality.”

When asked about the controversy surrounding the vaccine being administered on patients suffering from cervical cancer, Dr Gallo, who is impressed with the healthcare scenario in Kerala, dismissed it saying that the whole issue was purely political.

According to experts in the field, there are effective vaccines available for cervical cancer, which should be administered to boys and girls before they become sexually active.

Dr Gallo further pointed out that there were different types of cancers caused by viruses.

“Twenty per cent of the cancers are caused by viruses, and there are eight types of viruses, including Hepatitis B, C, and the Herpes virus. Of all the viruses, HIV is the worst because of the high mortality rate among patients. HIV does not cause cancer directly, but affects the patient’s immune system, "he added.

Me with Dr Gallo

published in The New Indian Express

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