Did American infectious disease expert, Dr. Rajendra Kapila, die from COVID-19, even after he was fully vaccinated against COVID-19?
Find out what the FACTS really are, and if it is truly pointless to vaccinate against COVID-19!
Updated @ 2021-05-08 : Snopes’ inability to verify facts, more details on vaccine breakthrough infections, and Dr. Kapila’s alleged infection by Indian variant.
Updated @ 2021-05-06 : Verified that Dr. Kapila was fully vaccinated with Pfizer vaccine, and contracted COVID-19 in India, and many other updates.
Updated @ 2021-05-05 : Added unverified claims of heart attack.
Originally posted @ 2021-05-04
Did Dr. Rajendra Kapila Die From COVID-19 After Vaccination?
Professor Dr. Rajendra Kapila – an 81-year old infectious disease expert at the Rutgers University’s New Jersey Medical School passed away on 28 April 2021.
This was first reported by Professor Nancy Connell, Vice-chair for Research in the Division of Infectious Disease at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.
We have lost a giant in infectious disease, Dr Raj Kapila, who served for years as a leader in global infectious diseases at @Rutgers_NJMS. @RutgersBHS will be ever grateful for his contribution to global ID and remember his extraordinary diagnostic talent https://t.co/5lYzDjxt9h
— Nancy Connell (@ndconnell) April 29, 2021
Professor Robert A. Schwartz, the Head of Dermatology, and Professor at the Medicine, Paediatrics, as well as Preventive Medicine and Community Health departments, also posted the news in a tweet :
Condolences to the family of Rajendra Kapila, the @RutgersU professor, @CityofNewarkNJ physician, and @USArmy veteran who advocated for the finest healthcare attainable for all. He will be remembered for his unmatched sagacity and conduct exemplarily of the @AOA_society motto.
Condolences to the family of Rajendra Kapila, the @RutgersU professor, @CityofNewarkNJ physician, and @USArmy veteran who advocated for the finest healthcare attainable for all. He will be remembered for his unmatched sagacity and conduct exemplarily of the @AOA_society motto. pic.twitter.com/bSMi7ddAyZ
— Robert A. Schwartz (@Prof_Dr_RAS) May 2, 2021
It was later verified by Dr. Asit Khanna, who posted it in the Corona Fatalities and Infections in healthcare workers Worldwide group in Facebook.
According to the Dr. Asit, Dr. Rajendra Kapila went to Ghaziabad in India to look after his ailing father-in-law, contractor COVID-19, and succumbed to it.
According to Dr. Ruby Bansal, who said she was personally involved in his care, he tested RT-PCR positive for COVID-19 at the Yashoda Super Specialty Hospital in Kaushambi, and took his last breath at the Shanti Mukand Hospital in Delhi.
A WhatsApp message then offered even more details on his condition. While we cannot corroborate the details, they seem plausible.
Prof. Kapila 83 years of age had history of Diabetes and CAD S/P stents. He had received 2 doses of mRNA vaccine a month before leaving for India.
During his visit he contracted COVID-19 and was hospitalized for 4 days but signed out against medical advice.
Thereafter he was admitted to a different hospital where he continued to recover from Covid pneumonia and at anytime did not require any assisted breathing.
On the seventh day he passed away following a massive heart attack in the early morning hours.
Myocardial ischemia, MI and sudden death are known to occur with circadian variation and peak after waking in the morning.
Waking in the morning, physical exertion, and mental stress influence plasma epinephrine levels, coronary blood flow, platelet aggregability, and endothelial function.
A relationship between COVID-19 infection and cardiovascular disease is also well established.
People who are 65 and older or with chronic conditions are at increased risk of cardiac complications.
Patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 in the setting of pre existing heart disease, diabetes, hypertension have increased risk of severe disease and death.
Potential mechanisms of cardiovascular injury include hypoxemia, myocarditis, thrombosis, stress cardiomyopathy and myocardial inflammation from the cytokine storm.
A significant number of patients who recover from COVID-19 have heart damage caused by the virus due to inflammation, even in mild cases.
mRNA vaccine efficacy is 95% which means that there is only a 5% chance of mild to moderate disease following 2 weeks after full vaccination.
The vaccines provide 100% protection from severe illness and death.
Prof. Kapila suffered mild to moderate Covid and did not progress to severe illness at any time.
He being 83 coupled with the history of CAD and complicated by Covid infection likely contributed to his sudden demise.
There is no justification to claim that this was a Covid vaccination failure.
Prof. Kapila was a good friend and will be remembered for his teaching and HIV research.
On 5 May 2021, the Hindustan Times reported that Dr. Kapila returned to India with his wife, Dr. Deepti Saxena-Kapila in the last week of March 2021, and stayed in Ghaziabad.
He was supposed to return to the US by the second week of April, but was instead tested positive on 8 April 2021 and admitted to the Shanti Mukand Hospital in Delhi where he passed away, as Dr. Ruby Bansal above stated.
His wife, a microbiologist who has been working in a COVID-19 lab in New Jersey said that they both received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine in the US, and that “it is ironic that we came to Indian for two weeks and he contracted it here.”
Finally, on 7 May 2021, the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School issued an official statement, confirming that Dr. Kapila passed away.
Both Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and University Hospital are saddened by the untimely passing of Rajendra Kapila, MD, Professor of Medicine.
For 50 years, Dr. Kapila served as a foundational pillar of New Jersey Medical School, the Martland Hospital and University Hospital where he provided care to tens of thousands of patients and trained numerous generations of medical students, residents and fellows. A genuine giant in the field of infectious diseases, Dr. Kapila was recognized world-wide and sought out for his legendary knowledge and extraordinary clinical acumen in diagnosing and treating the most complex infectious diseases. Dr. Kapila founded the Division of Infectious Diseases and facilitated its continued and extraordinary growth and development into one of the leading infectious diseases programs in the country.
We will update this article, as and when we know more.
WHY Did Dr. Rajendra Kapila Die From COVID-19 After Vaccination?
Of the thousands of healthcare workers who died from COVID-19, why did netizens pick Dr. Rajendra Kapila’s story to go viral?
The news of his passing was tied to comments that he was fully vaccinated against COVID-19 using the Pfizer vaccine, and his death shows that it may not be effective against the new Indian double mutation variant.
Here is one example :
Dr Rajendra Kapila, Infectious disease expert with Rutgers University was visiting India due to his father in-law’s poor health. He got infected with covid and died yesterday in India.
His friends here are sad and in disbelief how quickly he passed away. Apparently, he had both shots vaccines here before he left for India. Irony is he was infectious disease doctor.
So sad to know this. Looks like the vaccine may not be as effective with the new variants.
After two Pfizer vaccines shots in US , this doctor travelled to india to see his parents and succumbed to Indian variant
Vaccination is not effective with variants. Please exercise caution.
So what are the facts? Let’s take a look…
Fact #1 : Snopes Is Not Always Correct
I know some of you came from Snopes, who claimed that we are a fringe news outlet. The truth is – we have been debunking fake news on Tech ARP long before Snopes ever existed – since 1998!
Snopes may be recognised as a leading fact-checking website, but they expanded too fast and their writers are not infallible.
As of 8 May 2021, they still say that they are “not able to determine if Kapila had been fully vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 using the Pfizer vaccine”. Neither were they able to “confirm whether he was diagnosed with COVID-19 following his vaccination.
Seriously?? We had already verified on 6 May 2021 (the last Snopes update) that his wife confirmed that Dr. Kapila was not only fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer vaccine, he was infected with COVID-19 in India.
Perhaps, because they are not doctors, they do not understand the concept of breakthrough infections. Perhaps they should look at bringing in medical experts to fact-check medical facts…
Recommended : COVID-19 Vaccine Breakthrough : What You Need To Know!
Fact #2 : Dr. Kapila Was Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19
On 6 May 2021, Dr. Kapila’s wife – Dr. Deepti Saxena-Kapila – confirmed that they were both fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19, before flying to India.
She also confirmed that he contracted COVID-19 in India, calling it ironic since she worked at a COVID-19 lab and they had both been taking precautions at home and in India.
It is a shame that Snopes still is unable to verify that, despite numerous major news organisations confirming it.
Fact #3 : Breakthrough Infections Can Happen After Vaccination
While antivaxxers are using Dr. Kapila’s case as a “lesson” in how useless COVID-19 vaccines are, that is really not the case.
It is certainly plausible for a fully-vaccinated person to still get infected by COVID-19. That’s because vaccines do not directly protect you against infections.
Rather, COVID-19 vaccines are basically training boot camps for your immune system, teaching it how to fight against the real SARS-CoV-2 virus.
But like all training programmes we undergo in life, not all students graduate with flying marks. And so it is with our immune systems – not all of them will learn from the vaccines well enough.
Even the most efficacious vaccines, like the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines, have an efficacy of “just” 94-95%. That means a small number of people can still get infected even after they are fully vaccinated.
These infections are known as breakthrough infections, and they will keep happening until we achieve herd immunity.
To prevent them, we have to quickly vaccinate everyone against COVID-19. Even herd immunity at the workplace can greatly cut down on breakthrough infections!
Recommended : COVID-19 Vaccine Breakthrough Rate Only 0.003% For HCW
Fact #4 : We Don’t Know If Dr. Kapila Was Infected With Indian Variant
Despite claims that Dr. Kapila was infected with the Indian variant – B.1.617, that cannot be confirmed.
In fact, it is unlikely that it would ever be revealed, as it would require :
a) genome sequencing of a virus sample from Dr. Kapila,
b) his wife to be informed about the results, and
c) his wife to publicly release that information.
So we should ignore anyone who claims he was infected with the B.1.617 variant, unless it is backed with evidence.
Fact #5 : We Don’t Know Much About Indian Variant Right Now
The new Indian variant – called B.1.617 – isn’t really new. It was first detected in India in December 2020.
It is called a double mutant variant, because it has two key mutations that affect the spike protein it uses to attach to our cells.
- E484Q : similar to the E484K mutation see in the South African (B.1.351) and Brazil (P.1) variants, it changes part of the spike protein
- L452R : first seen in the B.1.427 / B.1.429 variants from California, it could increase the spike protein’s ability to bind to human cells, increasing its infectivity.
There is much that we currently do not know about the Indian B.1.617 variant, including whether these mutations will allow it to “bypass” the training offered by current vaccines.
We also do not know if the mutations make the virus more virulent (dangerous), as well as infectious (more likely to infect).
Nevertheless, it would make sense to continue with our COVID-19 precautions, even after we are fully vaccinated.
Fact #6 : Spike Protein Mutations May Reduce Vaccine Efficacy
Most COVID-19 vaccines work by teaching the immune system how to identify the spike protein of the real SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The immune system then creates antibodies against the spike protein, and that is what protects people who are vaccinated against COVID-19.
However, mutations that change the shape of the spike protein, changing how it appears to our immune system. It would be like a spy putting on a moustache to change how he looks.
This may or may not allow the new SARS-CoV-2 variant to evade your immune system that is keeping an eye out for the original variant it trained against.
Significant changes in the spike protein may also prevent the antibodies created against the original variant to bind to the new variant.
To prevent these mutations, we must rapidly cut down on infections through strict lockdowns and/or mass vaccinations.
Fact #7 : Mutations Increase With Infections
SARS-CoV-2 is an RNA virus, which naturally mutates at a high rate with every infection. With over 150 million cases, it is not surprising to see so many significant mutations.
We can expect more and more mutations, with new variants created, as long as people are getting infected.
That is why it is important to break the chain of infection through strict lockdowns and/or mass vaccinations.
Fact #8 : Mutations Do Not Necessarily Increase Virulence
The mutations occur randomly, but natural selection would favour a virus that is more transmissible but less virulent.
A successful virus is one that evolves to be highly infectious, but does not kill its host… at least not too quickly!
A particularly virulent virus, like Ebola, that quickly kills its host will not be very successful at spreading as it is less likely to infect other hosts.
So please do NOT panic unnecessarily over the Indian variant, or whatever new variant appears.
Focus on what matters – cutting infections and deaths. And how do we do that? By vaccinating everyone ASAP!
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