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New Jersey infectious disease expert dies in India of COVID-19

Dr. Rajendra Kapila, an infectious disease expert and professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, died of COVID-19 last month while in India.

Kapila, 81, died on April 28, three weeks after testing positive for COVID-19, ABC News reports. India is the world's biggest COVID-19 hotspot, and Kapila went to the country to help care for relatives, his ex-wife, Dr. Bina Kapila, told WABC. She said he only planned on staying in India for a short period of time.

In a statement, Rutgers called Kapila a "genuine giant in the field of infectious diseases" who was "recognized worldwide and sought out for his legendary knowledge and extraordinary clinical acumen in diagnosing and treating the most complex infectious diseases."

Kapila founded Rutgers' Division of Infectious Diseases, was a founding member of the New Jersey Infectious Disease Society, and "provided care to tens of thousands of patients and trained numerous generations of medical students, residents, and fellows," Rutgers said. His wife, Dr. Deepti Saxena-Kapila, said her husband was fully vaccinated before traveling to India; while it is extremely rare for a vaccinated person to die of COVID-19, most who have died had underlying health conditions and were older, ABC News reports. Kapila's ex-wife told WABC he had heart issues and diabetes.