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A UK-trained lawyer, he returned to his hometown in March this year. Due to the ongoing pandemic and social distancing measures, the 24-year-old ensured to take necessary precautions. To his shock, he tested positive. Akhil then realised that he is now Telangana state’s ‘P-16’. To add to his shock, he saw the media peddling fake news about a patient in the same ward as his in Gandhi Hospital. Akhil spoke about news coverage on COVID-19 patients, “It was disheartening; they could have conveyed the story better without the use of catchy words to increase TRP.”Akhil was thankful and expressed his gratitude towards everyone who was supporting him. After his recovery, Akhil and his colleagues in the UK began a website to provide counselling to victims of the virus and provide living support to stranded Indian students and workers. He also runs a successful web portal providing donor information to families regarding convalescent plasma therapy.
Akhil observed a stigma that came with the virus. He realized that people were forming perceptions toward those infected. Many people in Hyderabad are struck hard because they are uneducated and find it difficult to accept it mentally. “There is nothing to be ashamed of; everybody living in the world is equally prone to it,” he said. “My quarantine friend says his neighbours still don’t talk to his family. The social problem is not restricted to the middle-class family but is true for the highly educated too,” he said.
Akhil added, “The risk of infection contraction is there only when you are close to the patient, for example, in the room or otherwise by way of using the same things. There will be no harm if proper precautions are followed even if the patient is living next door.”
It was when Gandhi Hospital began with convalescent plasma trials that he got the opportunity he was looking for. Akhil became the 1st plasma donor from Telangana, saving 3 critically ill patients. Akhil, the ‘Corona Champion’, continues to further educate people about fighting the battle mentally than physically.
“My boldness has overpowered their stigma,” he said. But he didn’t want to stop there. It is his aim to make everyone realize that even though we should all be careful of COVID-19, it does not imply being afraid because both carry different meanings. Being an inspiration, he has set a great message against letting this virus rule our minds. We are millions against one virus.