Vaccine can neither prevent nor control Asthma: head CSP

KARACHI: President, Chest Society of Pakistan, Prof. Nadim Rizvi has strongly dispelled the impression, being deliberately created by sections with commercial interest, that any vaccine or group of vaccines could prevent or help control asthma.

Talking to APP Monday, he said “Asthma” is triggered by numerous allergens and not by any single factor therefore vaccination can not desensitize the allergens people are exposed to,  told APP.

He was supplemented by Associate Professor, Ojha Institute of Chest Diseases, Dr. Shahina Qayyum who warned that vaccines actually trigger asthma if the patient is severely sensitive towards any of different allergens.

She mentioned that derivatives of the same virus or cause of infections are used in the vaccines to counter the ailment people are at risk to contract or may already be suffering from.

“In particular case of asthma, where several factors trigger the ailment administration of any single derivative could aggravate the condition of the person concerned,” she elaborated.

In reply to a question, Dr. Qayyum further explained that pollen is also among the several contributory factors towards asthma and in case pollen derivative is used in the vaccine then people not yet exposed to pollen allergy hold every chance to get exposed to it.

Dr, Nadim Rizvi, a senior pulmonologist and Head of the Chest

Medicine Department, Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Center said medication remained to be the only safe option for asthmatics.

“It is because of this reason we through the platform of Chest Society of Pakistan have been asking for easy availability of treatment at every government clinic, dispensary and hospital,” he said.

He said standardized treatment must be adopted, however, the problems is that inhaler being a mainstay in the strategy is not provided to the patients at any of the healthcare centers.

“Resource constraint is an issue, however, concerned authorities as well as people in general need to realize that application of drugs through inhalers enhances efficacy of the medicine,” said Prof. Nadeem Rizvi.

The drugs required to treat asthma contain steroids and their side effects are contained by almost 100% through application of inhalers compared to oral intake.

Dr. Nadim Rizvi and Dr. Shahina Qayyum were of unanimous opinion that while drugs to treat asthma are toxic, like most of the allopathic medicines, yet these are well tolerated even by the children.

The senior chest physicians agreed that avoiding exposure to allergens that cause asthma could be the most effective strategy. Dr. Shahina Qayyum said deteriorating environmental conditions and luxurious life styles with rampant use of heavy upholstery, curtains, carpets and furniture have contributed to the increase in the incidence of the ailment.

“These hinder proper cleaning and dusting of the rooms and contribute to dust bite as well as cockroach drippings that trigger asthma among adults as well as children,” she said.

The two doctors said exposure to passive smoking has emerged to be the severest threat for 07% to 15% of all children and 05% of adult population already suffering from the ailment in the country.

Smoking in general and passive smoking in particular besides exposure to pollen and fumes have emerged to be serious threats for the people.

In particular context of urban sectors, Dr. Rizvi said indifference towards use of safety gadgets in factories, direct exposure to dust and un-checked emissions by rickety vehicles are also among the main contributory factors towards asthma.

Use of wood as main fuel, application of chemical in fields without any precaution, poor cleanliness and hygienic conditions have emerged to be triggering factors In the rural areas.

The scenario demands a comprehensive preventive approach coupled with pragmatic strategy to treat the condition registered among all age groups of people in the country, said the experts.

The World Asthma Day being observed on Wednesday provides an opportunity to sensitize masses as well as policy makers about the modes to counter constant increase in the number of asthma patients. APP