OK! SO THIS IS THE VIRUS! NOW WHAT?
We have seen the disease strike in many countries, from China to US and the story has been more or less the same: everybody expected the virus to come, but when it came, the governments and the population were unprepared for such speed and aggressiveness. All countries, starting with China itself, complained about material and sanitation materials shortage and pushed after for supplemental aid. Time wasted led to contamination and infection of unwanted greater number of people, amongst which medical personnel. Doctors and medical staff in all countries saw themselves pushed in front of the army to start defense or attack empty-handed and unprotected, like Russian soldiers or P.O.W.s sent without weapons in front to sacrifice themselves by detonating minefields in WW2.
Of course, we told them they are our heroes, our saviors, people clapped hands at them, Blue Angels have flown over them, they got some bonuses, but they also died in the process. In Italy one in seven dead is a medical specialist or so they say. We have more than 800 infected in Romania and one of my apprenticeship colleagues died days ago because of the virus.
Who is to blame? First, maybe WHO itself is to blame, because it declared pandemic quite late, some say in trying to protect the Chinese mistakes. Maybe their reputation, as they seem to have lost 10 times more people than officially declared (in the range of 30 thousand). The fact that the virus started its attack in China also seems no longer a matter for debate – and frankly, whenever there is some epidemic coming, we all look to South-East Asia as origin, because of numerous factors we won’t discuss here. Question- was the virus engineered by Chinese? Most unlikely, as it is an RNA virus. Did they succeed in influencing its features? – well, there might be something here. Rumor has it that the P4 lab in Wuhan had been studying corona viruses in bats and did so for many years, apparently trying to anticipate its passage to humans and prepare a vaccine, after the menace of SARS and MERS. We do not know for sure, but if that is true, they paid dearly for such adventure. And the next question is – why do we get to be in front of the runaway train? Well , there could be many explanations according to all the freshly developed conspiracy theories, but the blunt fact is that when someone throws shit upwards, some of it may hit the fan and spread evenly on everyone.
Every country managed in its own way the epidemics – UE had no common protocols either. They were issued piece by piece, coming up with the experiences of each country. And probably we will have to draw final conclusion about the best way to deal with this disease. We sincerely hope that vaccines will come quicker, but it is hardly possible before one year. Out of 78 research groups trying to develop vaccine, most advanced seem those from US and UK, which are in final stages, especially those from Oxford UK, who could come with a good vaccine as early as September. We still do not know a lot of things about this infection. The worst thing is that people lost patience and do not see the connection between a thorough submission to sometimes unpleasant regulations and the faster relief that it could enable. If we respect the safety regulations, it is statistically proven the no of infections will drop and we’ll be able to get back to our usual life. But if we do not take them seriously, we preserve a pool of infected people wondering around and infecting others in the community. It is true, most cases are light forms of disease, but who would like to become an exception? It is true the pandemic stole time of our lives – defying the truth is no option. A changed life with the prospect of turning back good is better than loosing it permanently so to speak. No hard choice here and no hidden reasoning – it then becomes a matter of conscience, education, civilization and a way to fight a small invisible critter which is on to kill all of us if it can. I have
seen people on the streets demonstrating for their freedom – like someone cares about freedom when the freedom they want is associated with certain death. Sure, feel free to wonder around sick people, feel free to die – knock yourself out, but DO NOT GET ME SICK in the process, because that will piss me off. There are also stories about people getting re-infected, which I do not believe. It was observed that in 2,7% of the positive patients, the virus or viral proteins may linger on in their system for days or even weeks after healing. An early rapid test for detection (which is not very accurate anyway) performed a few days after healing may come positive (but almost sure nit for live viruses, more likely for debris and resting viral protein). In seldom cases, the patient becomes a longer time carrier (without symptoms) of the virus, without any sign of the disease whatsoever. These persons are very dangerous for the community, because under the current regulations, they do not give reason for testing and remain unknown until a tracing investigation stumbles upon them.
Well, drugs like Remdesivir of the US Gilead company and the vaccine will somehow solve this problem. What is in the future?
What if another Chinese critter succeeds next year in passing its viruses to humans? Or elsewhere? A new virus, a new danger, the same old drill! Are we going to hide again in the houses like mice and say good morning over the phone? Are we going to loose more grandpas and grandmas or it is our children who will be in danger next time? Are we going to be unprepared the next time as we were this time, even if some of us knew and had the competence to do something about it, yet they did not. Some conclusions of the pandemic must be incorporated in international political proceedings, so that any country confronted with epidemic can take such measures without being isolated politically or criticized. Indeed, I see that it is adequate to stop access in the diseased zone by creating a large perimeter (it can be as large as the country itself) around the diseased area and locking down in quarantine any visitor. The mask must become obligatory for use outside the household the vary day the emergency situation is instituted. By then all hospitals must have a protocol of action in case of epidemics and should know how to react and adapt their configuration, structure and functionality, and simply report when ready. But this is not the important part – even if done properly there is a time to react and things will happen. The important thing is to change our policy in terms of global epidemiology. We have changed the climate, animals relocate closer to us or we live closer to them, so disease can spread. The important thing is to create an international mechanism to prevent such disaster. This means redefining the role and capacity of WHO, in order to be completely free of political influence, to have the power to order air travel-ban or lockdown in some areas. A thorough research in the S-E Asia virus furnace, sustained with international help and participation of interested countries (CHINA, INDIA, PAKISTAN, BANGLADESH, MIANMAR, VIETNAM, CAMBODIA, HONG-KONG, SINGAPORE, MALAYSIA, INDONESIA;). First we must look into existing research and testing on such viruses and then go to new standards. Technology for genome decryption should be available and an automated chain reaction for creation of new vaccine should be triggered when needed. Which means that we can foresee such dangerous strain coming and we could simply include it into the next yearly flu vaccine and recommend a larger vaccination pool when a newer and more nasty germ is included. The absolute safety of the population can be obtained only by previous vaccination. Vaccine does not prevent the disease literally; actually the virus invades the patient, who can experience some symptoms for a few hours (or not), but the virus is killed almost immediately, before it can seriously affect the body of the patient. So even if some minor symptoms will be pr4esent, that is the only manifestation ever. Of course there can be
failures – inactivated vaccine which does not trigger a full immune response exist (but even that is good, better than nothing). There can also be people with side effects, but we can treat those.
Ideally, there will be enough research money to find efficient vaccines – centered on representative proteins/ antigens, so that if you take a vaccine for one coronavirus, it may be valid for all viruses in corona family.
But for this, we must not run away from politics and politicians; we must evaluate those that helped us and we must convince them to go this way and make the necessary decisions. I think this money is better used than for war and political ambitions. Or even drugs to treat an epidemic that goes beyond control.
I am going to try this; question is : Are you with me?