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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Spread of multiple dangerous, complex pandemics imminent in 21st century


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Not only health experts, but every layman across the globe is now aware of terms like the corona virus, monkeypox, polio, and Marburg virus. According to experts, we are living in the era of pandemics, which will hit the world time and again and will be more complex than the last. Earlier too, the dangers of the Marburg virus, belonging in the family of the polio, monkeypox, and Ebola viruses, have been dealt with. Back in 2002 and 2012, basic forms of the corona virus- Sars-COV-2, had come to the fore. But now, their attacks, due to many reasons, have become more dangerous and are transmitting fast.

Humans’ confrontation with viruses is increasing because of factors like deforestation, environmental changes, and urbanization. In order to fight the potential pandemics hitting the world in the future, the USA has set aside funds worth 7 lakh crore rupees, and the World Bank has made funds worth 81 thousand crore rupees. Jeremy Farrar, Director, Wellcome Trust, which is a charitable foundation keeping an eye on the challenges associated with human health, said that we view each pandemic as a different incident, but this is a part of the life in the 21st century.

He added that such problems are arising due to the increase in human movement all across the globe, and the intrusion of human beings into environmental niches which were earlier isolated and untouched. Michael Osterholm, Director, Centre for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota, has said that many communicable diseases spreading around the world are a result of the evolution in viruses and bacteria, and their confrontation with humans, which is increasing because of humans getting closer to nature.

For instance, the corona virus is found in bats, while the influenza virus is found in birds, and wherever animals go, these viruses are spread. Experts have stated that the largest transmission of the Ebola virus in west Africa took place in 2014, the reason behind which was urbanization. With air-travel, viruses and bacteria reach other parts of the world within a few hours. The current attack of monkeypox is its example, it has spread in 94 countries in just 3 months. The virus spreading in central and west Africa reached the whole world.

Osterholm further stated that if monkeypox had hit the world a 100 years ago, there would not have been any problem arising. After every fight with humans, viruses turn stronger and more capable of spreading. This is exactly what happened with the corona virus, and is happening with monkeypox too. Dr. Raj Panjabi, Director, Bio-defense, National Security Council, White House, states that this is an alarm bell, and there are hints pointing towards the fact that viruses have adapted more to live and thrive among humans.

Further, researchers have discovered a new corona virus in bats, which can possibly fail the COVID-19 vaccines. Back in 2020, a corona virus similar to the Sars-COV-2 was found in bats in Russia by a team of scientists led by Michael Letko, Assistant Professor, Washington State University Public Health School. At that point in time, the scientists did not think that the Khosta-2 virus will be dangerous for humans. Letko’s team, after research, discovered that Khosta-2 can transmit infection in humans too. It is worrisome that this can infect even those people who have been vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccines.

Sonakshi Datta
Sonakshi Datta
Journalist who wants to cover the truth which others look the other way from.

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