Dr. Lt. Gen. Ved Chaturvedi is a man who is highly respected in both the Army and Medical arena. He has been honored with the Param Vashisht Seva Medal – the highest peacetime honor and the highest award by Indian Rheumatology Association. Before joining as a Senior Consultant at the prestigious Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, he was the Medical Chief of the Indian Army. He has also been President’s Honorary Physician during the period of 2014-15. In conversation with Lt. Gen. Gurmit Singh, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, VSM, and Former Deputy Chief of Army Staff on the platform of I Am Still Human, he talked about his take on the Covid-19 situation and how he came up with the idea of Hydroxychloroquine as a drug for Covid-19.
It all started when he was invited by Bangladesh TV for a talk on Rheumatology on March 7th, 2020 but instead was asked questions on Covid-19. This surprised him as he didn’t recall any problems related to Covid-19 in India but was reminded of 30 positive cases in Kerala by them. At that time Covid-19 was still an endemic and people in India weren’t much aware about it. On 10th of March, when he landed back to India, he found the scenario a bit changed with the temperature getting checked on the airport. He then researched about it and went into the history of treatment of these kinds of viruses. Viruses are tough to culture. Most of them have more or less the same symptoms; he told giving the example of SARS virus. Covid-19 is one of the most infectious viruses with rapid multiplying force. On 11th of March, he took a lecture on the same topic. Talking about Hydroxychloroquine, he said that Dr. Anthony Fauci was the first man to write about it in 2005. Dr. Lt. Gen. Ved Chaturvedi studied all about its consumption at the time of SARS virus. The Chinese and the French were already using it for the treatment of Covid-19. On March 20th, he wrote a message to the Ministry of Health for using Hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19 as a personal recommendation based on the older studies of Corona Viruses. The ministry forwarded his suggestion to Indian Council of Medical Research. Within two days, a recommendation for Hydroxychloroquine arrived from the ICMR. When asked on how does he feel about India distributing Hydroxychloroquine in the moment of need for the entire world, he said that he feels very proud and it is great of India to think of others at such a critical time. He also added that it is being exported to America and 100 other countries. This drug earlier called Chloroquine is now Hydroxychloroquine as hydroxylation leads to fewer side effects. With the entire world searching for a vaccine for Covid-19, Dr. Lt. Gen. Ved Chaturvedi hopes that a vaccine could be found by the end of this year. He also talked about the Lancet Study which published that Hydroxychloroquine can lead to death. Answering to this he said that the interpretation to this by Lancet was wrong. Hydroxychloroquine should be given only at an early stage of disease, while at a later or serious stage; Remdesivir should be given to the patient.
Apart from being an army man and a doctor, Dr. Lt. Gen. Ved Chaturvedi is an amazing poet and singer as well. He ended the session by singing ”Thoda hai, thode ki zaroorat hai”, giving the message that everyone should be happy and positive at this point of time. Efforts to get rid of Covid-19 are being made and things will be better soon.