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Disturbing Ecology

Unattended Cause Of Covid-19

Unattended Cause Of Covid-19
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Shakeel Mahmood :
Pandemic due to the sars-Cov2 virus is the global public health emergency crisis causing acute infectious respiratory disease, which has brought even the most powerful nations to their knees.  Covid-19   has already claimed 838,095 lives. Around nine percent or almost 20 lakh of Dhaka city residents could be Covid-19 positive with approximately 78 percent of them showing no symptoms, said a study jointly conducted by the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) and the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b). The percentage is much higher than the figure provided by the health directorate, which indicates there are many more undetected cases.
Coronavirus is spreading across the world, with more than 23 million confirmed cases in 188 countries. Cases of the disease are continuing to surge in many countries, while others, which had apparent success in suppressing initial outbreaks, are now seeing infections rise again. In terms of individual countries, Brazil has the second highest number of cases in the world, after the US. It has recorded more than 114,000 deaths. Mexico has the second-highest death toll in Latin America with more than 60,000 deaths, and cases have also risen rapidly in Colombia, Peru, Argentina and Venezuela, says a BBC survey.
An internationally renowned medical microbiologist and recipient of first-ever Independence Day Award of Bangladesh in Medical Science (1977), late General Dr. Mahmudur Rahman Choudhury (1928 - 99) mentioned in his book, 'Modern Medical Microbiology' (1999) in a section namely 'Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases' that "The myth that infectious diseases are being controlled and are fading away has evidently been found to be incorrect. There exist definite indications that alterations, which we make in our lifestyles and environment, could have profound impacts on the dynamic biological changes in the microbial world. The results can be disastrous. It is quite obvious that microbes can strike us back whenever the delicate ecological balance is disturbed".
Dr. Mahmudur Rahman Choudhury was an eminent medical scientist and physician of Bangladesh. He was a pioneer of immuno-electron microscopy in Bangladesh and awarded fellowships of the Royal College of Pathologists (FRCPath), London, the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh (FRCP), the American College of Physicians (FACP), the International Biographical Association (FIBA), the American Biographical Institute (FABI), the Bangladesh College of Physicians Surgeons (FCPS), and the Bangladesh Academy of Sciences (FAS). He was a member, Board of Trustees, icddr,b, and member of the WHO Expert Advisory Panel on Health Laboratory Services.
Prof. Dr. Choudhury's prediction in June 1999 and Oxford Professor's observation in July 2020 are similar. Twenty years ago, Dr. Choudhury was absolutely correct, in view of the fact that he speculated that this might happen, if we do not keep the ecological balance intact. In other words, 'the ecological balance must not be disturbed'. Hence, it is evident that to eradicate this paradox of pandemic, the ecological balance needs to be restored in the global atmosphere, otherwise humans will suffer more from microbes in the future.
Back in 1964, a B814 virus with a lipid coating was first identified by Scottish virologist Dr June Almeida, (1930 -2007) at her laboratory in St. Thomas Hospital in London. A Doctor of Science, Almeida succeeded in that were previously unknown, including in 1966 a group of viruses that were later named coronavirus, due to their crown-like appearance. At the Ontario Cancer Institute Dr Almeida developed her outstanding skills with an electron microscope. She pioneered a method, which better visualised viruses by using antibodies to aggregate them. In 1971, using her immune electron microscopy technique, Almeida made the landmark discovery that the hepatitis B virus had "two immunologically distinct components"- an "outer coat and a small inner component".
The most obvious method of virus detection and identification is a direct visualization of the agent. The morphology of most viruses is sufficiently characteristic to identify the image as a virus and to assign an unknown virus to the adequate family. Furthermore, certain non-cultivable viruses can be detected with electron microscopy.
Investing in a mechanism that will guarantee all countries have fair and timely access to a Covid-19 vaccine is the only way out of the global pandemic, the chief of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on 24 August. He wrote to 194 member states, urging them to join the COVAX Global Vaccines Facility, a mechanism aimed at guaranteeing fair access of Corona vaccine for all countries, regardless to rich or poor. Warning against "vaccine nationalism" in the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr. Tedros underlined the importance of global solidarity in addressing the crisis. "As new diagnostics, medicines and vaccines come through the pipeline, it is critical that countries don't repeat the same mistakes", he said, adding, "We need to prevent vaccine nationalism."
(Mr. Mahmood is a PhD Candidate at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Email: shakeel.mahmood@uon.edu.au )

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