MALAPPURAM: Despite taking all guards against Covid19, a doctor with the Government Medical College Hospital (GMCH), Manjeri in Malappuram district, has been infected by the virus four times since the outbreak reported in the state. Dr. Abdul Gafoor has been working as a casualty medical officer at the Covid hospital in the GMCH, during this period.
"I was first infected by the virus in July 2020. I tested for the infection after a doctor - a co-worker - residing with me at Manjeri had tested positive for the virus. During the first quarantine period, I was asymptomatic and I did not face any major health issues. The second time, I was infected in December 2020. This time, I had gone through a tough time as I suffered severe fever and fatigue," said Gafoor.
After getting infected by the virus twice in a period of six months, Gafoor took the first dose of the Covishield vaccine in February 2021 and the second dose of it in April 2021. However, even after taking the vaccine, Gafoor was infected by the virus two more times.
"In April 2021, I was infected for the third time. This time, I even lost the ability to sense smell and taste. However, I managed to complete the treatment and quarantine and come back to work. In the first week of August 2021, I again tested positive for the virus. My health was deteriorated more this time compared to the previous times. Still, after completing the fourth quarantine, I rejoined the hospital last week," said Gafoor.
Even after getting infected by the virus four times, Gafoor wants to continue working with the Covid hospital. However, he has decided to conduct an antibody test to gauge his immunity.
"My low immunity might have led to the continuous infections. So, I have decided to conduct an antibody test to gauge my immunity and then study my health. I enjoy treating Covid patients and I want to continue my job with the hospital. However, if the study suggests that I should stay away from the highly exposed areas, I will do accordingly," the 34-year-old doctor said.
The senior doctors with the GMCH also say the low immunity might be a reason for Gafoor repeatedly getting infected.
"Chances of high exposure to the virus while dealing with Covid patients is a reason for Gafoor getting continuously infected. Gafoor got a mild infection first. When it is a mild infection, the body will not produce antibodies against the virus. This might have led to the second infection. His low immunity might be a reason for falling prey to the virus again and again. Chances of getting infected by different variants of the virus can not also be ruled out because a genomic study based on the samples from Gafoor showed that he was infected by the delta variant of the virus in the fourth time," said Dr. Shinas Babu, Nodal Officer at the Covid hospital, adding vaccination helped Gafoor when he infected for the third and fourth times.
Shinas also said they might study the case of Gafoor to find ways to protect the health workers from Covid 19. Health workers with the hospital also said many of them were infected by the virus two or three times.