COVID19 : Emerging Infectious diseases and threats to global stability

Infectious diseases taking the form of a Global Pandemic must be recognised as the worst enemy of Humankind. A threat greater than any war. It is estimated that more people died from the 1918 Influenza Pandemic caused by H1N1 virus than from both the World Wars. World War 1 reports casualties somewhere between 40 to 50 million while World War 2 reports casualties between 70 to 85 million whilst comparing it to the number of deaths caused by the 1918 Influenza Pandemic it is somewhere estimated to be around 120 million to 140 million. When the world’s population was only 1.8 billion.

spanish flu
Spanish Flu

This just goes on to show the severity of a global pandemic on human life. A flu pandemic now has the potential to cause hundreds of millions of death in this era of over-population and globalisation. When the world’s population is 7.8 billion and increasing. Globalisation has made us more vulnerable, it makes boundaries invisible, a world without borders.

Global stability in terms of socio-economic factors gets deeply affected. Third world economies suffer the most when they are faced with a global pandemic. Both the developing and the under developed countries lack in resources which help mitigate the risks of a pandemic. Medical supplies, hospital beds and availability of doctors are some of the several pain points for these countries and even for developed countries, as the recent on-going COVID-19 pandemic has shown the world.

Lack of hospitals is a reality even for the United States a ‘Super-Power’. According to a recent report since 2010, over 100 rural hospitals across the US have closed and nearly 700 more are at risk of shutting down. The World Health Organization estimates that there are 1 billion ‘season flu’ cases worldwide and upto 6,50,000 deaths every year. When a Pandemic happens we can add another millions of cases on top of it which is totally unexpected and this unprecedented number, makes Hospitals overcrowded with their medical supplies limited.

The Doctor-to-population ratio is also a matter of serious concern in most of the affected countries. Consequently, the world is vastly unprepared when it comes to handling a Pandemic.

Tracing the origin of the first Pandemic in our 21st century, SARS(Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) characterized as a novel coronavirus had its origins in Hongkong, was an animal virus transmitted via Bats. MERS(Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus) which originated in Saudi Arabia characterized as a novel coronavirus, again an animal virus was transmitted via camels. Nipah virus outbreak of 2018 was traced to pigs and fruit bats with its origins in Kerala and Malaysia. Avian Flu or Bird flu which was the most deadly having a mortality rate of about 60 percent also originated in China via transmission from birds. The Swine flu pandemic originated in Mexico and transmitted through Pigs.

CORONAVIRUSES
Coronaviruses: Hosts.

Therefore, we have ample proof that the cause of every Pandemic was animal transmission. All of the patient zeros identified in these outbreaks where consumers of infected animal flesh. With increasing population, we are raising livestock at unprecedented levels due to increase in demand of Animal Flesh subsequently, animal protein.

As the infection of 2019-nCoV coronavirus is quickly developing into a global pneumonia epidemic, the careful analysis of its transmission and cellular mechanisms is sorely needed. It is still unclear which animal served as the intermediate host that brought the bat coronavirus to human hosts. Whereas multiple studies suggest the Malayan pangolin (Manis javanica) as another host, some studies have proposed that the pangolin may be a natural host rather than an intermediate host. Nevertheless, the primary reason for it to reach human hosts was due to consumption of bats a widespread practice in mainland China’s wet markets.

Before delving deeper into a solution, we should first identify the problem. Dr. Dennis Carrol who serves as a Director of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Emerging Threats Unit considers identification of the above cited animal viruses as a problem area. Let us take the example of Avian Flu(Bird Flu) many thousands of birds migrate to and from different countries, detection of infected birds would require taking throat and anal swab (samples) of each and every bird in a flock of birds. The task requires immense manpower, testing kits and more importantly the migration pattern of the migrating birds.

PIP-Mycoplasma-diagnostics-image-1
Taking throat swabes of chickens for testing.

Conclusively, detection of these animal viruses becomes a herculean task. Which is a part of a problem. Until now inspite of us being in the 21st century and so technically advanced. We have failed miserably when it comes to the detection of these viruses. Only until recently, this major issue prompted Dr. Dennis Carol to establish a ‘GLOBAL VIROME PROJECT’ a scientific initiative to detect unknown zoonotic viral threats basically, animal viruses.

 

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The Global Virome Project

Another problem with coronaviruses is their astonishing pace of mutations. The virus causing our current pandemic of COVID-19 which is SARS-COV-2 is mutating so rapidly that the immune response becomes obsolete by the next year. As per official reports it will take another year or maybe even more than a year for a development of the vaccine for this virus.

The solution which the countries have come up with is ‘Social Distancing’ which refers to restricted movements of the population as a whole and quarantining a whole country in a curfew like situation wherein the citizens are put in self-isolation at their homes. This drastically affects the economy of a country due to holding up of work at industries, offices, farms or elsewhere.

I may dare say that if we have only social distancing as a solution than we as human species must accept that we are utterly helpless and inadequate when it comes to tackling a global pandemic. We have already lost a war with mother nature which we as a species have been waging on since the times of industrial revolution.

social distancing
Implementing Social Distancing a problem in developing countries such as INDIA, 

A team of bio-researchers lead by Dr. Jacob Glanville and Dr. Sarah Ives are working on a universal vaccine which can immunize one self against any kind of coronavirus which may be show its ugly head in the near future. They have termed the vaccine as CENTIVAX. The only issue is that it will take another 5 to 10 years for its deployment subsequent human testing. There is also research on implementation of quantum dots as a possible counter-measures for corona virus then again a measure which would take decades to reach the common masses.

sarah
Dr. Jacob Glanville and Dr. Sarah Ives

A Feasible Solution-:

Naturally, our present situation sparks a debate over the consumption of animals. Do we really need the rearing of livestocks only for their consumption? Do we need to inflict immense cruelty and abuse on Animals for our sensory gratification? Or is our animal consumption a choice not a necessity? Is it worth it in the long run when we are witnessing a situation like a Global Pandemic costing millions of lives basically because of our eating habits?

Livestock raising takes hectares of lands and feeding of live stocks, looking after them costs huge amount of money. If the same amount of money, time and energy is spent on vegan alternatives it may solve the issue for the farmers. Furthermore, if let us say 5 farmers own a facility where daily butchering of tens and hundreds of animals is done. Which is more plausible?
1. Those farmers looking for a different employment opportunity or
2. Killing of live sentient animals cruelly miserably… who suffer excruciating pain and torture in the process.

Moreover, logically speaking if we pluck an orange another orange grows in its place we are not destroying the tree. We are eating crops, the seeds of which and consequent pollination by insects such as bees leads to preservation of that particular species even assisting the crop plant in their genealogical evolution(R&D has proved this as well). But killing an animal kills the animal and in the process the animal has to go through excruciating pain, trauma, sheds tears of grief even tries to run away from the killing facility.

Thereby proving that the magnitude of pain is much much larger in animals and maybe that’s why nature has provided them legs to run and eyes to shed tears. Plus the killing facilities are not a natural construction they are man made thereby proving that nature does not intend upon killing those animals… it is US!!

Another question might arise here. Related to religious beliefs as there are some religions who do advocate the killing of animals en-masse. Well I do accept that this is a sensitive issue.
Here I will not take sides with any particular religion, reason being the issues of sacrifice to appease gods or celebrating a festival by killing masses of animals is not limited to a particular religion. Events like these we witness every day. Some get featured in our mainstream news most of them go ignored and do not receive the required limelight. But I ask those who believe in such rituals. Do these rituals fetch any trans-formative experiences latter on after they are conducted? Every year it is the same unconscious following of them. Evidently, let us say if a certain god or goddess got happy seeing animals being slaughtered in masses. Their happiness surely should manifest triggering events such as heavy rainfall for their crops. Pushp-varsha( flower showering by the celestials during the occurrence of the slaughter). Deities manifesting and blessing them.

But events like these never happen. Factually speaking instead of heavy rainfall we have cloud bursts, instead of ‘flower being showered’ we suffer acid rain. And sure deities don’t manifest but profit reapers who reap huge profits from these events do. People associated with the leather industry, fur industry, meat industry obtain immense profits. Conclusively proving that rituals aren’t spiritual. They are harming us and the flora fauna.

The anatomical evidence tells us that we’re optimized for eating mostly or exclusively plant foods.  This is proven in a research titled “The Comparitive Anatomy of Eating” by Dr. Milton R Mills.

We have gone opposite to Nature in many ways and therefore we are facing repercussions from it in myriad ways one of which is a global Pandemic. The issue at hand of a recurring global pandemic, stands unresolved if the above concerns are not timely addressed.

The human civilisation must ethically and spiritually evolve and take a firm decision against the culture of animal consumption if not, such Pandemics will keep on repeating as there is no way one can detect or even predict such events.

Policy makers, planners and global health leaders need to take a well timed decision before its too late.

 

References:

  1. Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak . A Documentary
  2. Research on corona virus chemistry
  3. Exploring the Science of Social Distancing and What it Means for Everyday Life
  4. Fatality Rate
  5. About Centivax
  6. My own article on veganism.
  7. VIDEO: Will you still eat chicken in India? 

 

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