The macrocosm once again is on its knees following a deadly scare unyielding in determination to obliterate human existence. Throughout history, infectious disease outbreaks have wreaked mayhem, reshaped the course of humanity, beckoning the end of civilizations and long after they disappear, they entrench in us a scare to be recounted in history and folktales.
As a basic school science teacher, I will like to share my few thoughts on viruses from my little studies. Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Michael Faraday, et al would have provided a better insight, I understand. But this is the little I can contribute to the running debate.
Indeed, we live in a world of viruses. But today, we are confronted with the untamed spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Albeit disturbing, this is not the starting point and may not be the end of viruses or infectious disease outbreaks.
History is still very much replete with the following infectious outbreaks that have claimed many lives:
the H1N1 Swine Flu pandemic:2009-2010, West African Ebola epidemic:2014-2016, Zika Virus epidemic:2015 to present day, AIDS pandemic and epidemic:1981 to present day, Spanish Flu:1918-1920, Prehistoric epidemic: Circa 3000 B.C, Plague of Athens:430 B.C., the Black Death:1346-1353, Philadelphia yellow fever epidemic:1793, American polio epidemic:1916, Flu pandemic:1889-1890 ad infinitum.
The world first caught wind of the novel Coronavirus on December 1, 2019, in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, China, involving a 55-year-old man who fell ill on November 17, 2019.
COVID-19 it is believed, originated from a "wet" market" in Wuhan which sold both dead and living wild animals, including fish and birds, hence it has a zoonotic origin.
The science of human-to-animal interactions and exchanges at the individual and cultural level impacts greatly on the health and well-being of older adults, particularly.
It's useful to state that the more human beings continue to interact with their environment, including animals, and the more civilized humans interact with different populations of animals in the ecosystem, the more likely pandemics would occur.
This is because animal-related diseases would be transferred to humans.
It is therefore not surprising that Chinese city, Shenzhen has banned the sale and consumption of dog and cat meat in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
It is or should also be stated that the more we hold to the unscientific conviction that these infectious outbreaks are borne out of the wrath of spirits and gods, the more disastrous reactions and associated deaths we will most likely record.
Viruses do not discriminate-they can affect the poor and the rich; the weak and the mighty; the young and the old. You name them.
I should like to differentiate between viruses and bacteria.
Like giraffes and goldfish, viruses and bacteria caused by microbes look very much alike but can be differentiated.
The virus is a small infectious agent that can only reproduce in other living cells. Viruses are smaller than bacteria and cannot survive without a living host. They attach themselves to cells within an organism, reprogram them to reproduce itself.
Unlike bacteria, viruses mostly cause diseases such as AlDS, herpes, cold, influenza and chickenpox.
Vaccination is required to prevent viral infection. Antiretroviral drugs produced in response to the AlDS pandemic inhibit the development of viruses but do not destroy them. Viruses sometimes resolve themselves through the immune system without any treatment.
Bacteria are larger than viruses and made up of a single cell. They are simple organisms that replicate outside other cells and are everywhere in the soil, water, air, animals, and plants. Most bacteria are not harmful and help in destroying disease-causing organisms as well as the digestion of food.
Some bacteria, however, cause infections such as tuberculosis, strep throat, pneumonia, skin infection, and urinary tract infection.
The bacteria infection can be destroyed by the recommended antibiotics.
Both bacteria and viral infections are spread through coughing, sneezing, contaminated food, water and surfaces, and contact with affected persons, especially through sex and kissing.
The Novel Coronavirus pandemic is a new and different form of viruses closely related to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome(SARS) epidemic which was caused by SARS-CoV and spread through global air travel. It traumatized the world from 2002 to 2003 infecting 8,096 people from 29 countries and territories and killing at least 774 people across the globe. (The first case of SARS was recorded on November 16, 2002, in China's Guangdong province of Hong Kong).
Following a sustained period of community-level transmission in multiple countries across the globe, the World Health Organisation(WHO), on 30th January 2020, officially declared the COVID-19 outbreak to be a pandemic. More than 170 countries and territories across the globe have recorded at least one case.
As of April 4,2020,13:00 hours, a total of 1,034,085 Coronavirus Cases were recorded across the globe with 54,458 deaths and 220,023 recoveries.
The Republic of Ghana recorded its first cases of Coronavirus on March 12, 2020, involving two people who came back to the country from Turkey and Norway.
According to the Ghana Health Service, the country's case count as at today, April 4,2020,14:00 hours, stands at 204(147 active cases) with five deaths and three complete recoveries. The number of regions reporting cases remains five (5)-Greater Accra, Ashanti, Northern, Upper West, and Eastern).
The Greater Accra Region has the most cases-(174) followed by the Northern Region (10), Ashanti Region (9), Upper West Region (1) and Eastern Region (1).
The World Bank has since extended a $100 million credit facility to the government of Ghana as emergency support to help increase our Coronavirus response.
The government of Ghana has set up a National Trust Fund to receive donations from the public.(Loan - Donations = Burden on future generations).
Adequate data about the transmission of the COVID-19 is still missing in academic research and discourses. Studies, however, reveal that the virus mainly spreads by close contact with an infected person within 1 to 2 metres and through respiratory droplets produced during coughing and sneezing. The virus is not considered airborne.
The common symptoms of the virus include cough, fever, and shortness of breath.
Coronavirus is not heat resistant. It detests the scorching sun and can be killed at a temperature of 26/27 degrees celsius.
It's recommended that we wash our hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds, especially after visiting John, coughing, sneezing or blowing one's nose.
The virus is killed by soap outside the human body as soap bursts its protective bubble.
Also, the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol by volume where soap and running water are not available in a ready manner.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends daily disinfection of frequently touched surfaces.
Products containing bleach, alcohol or hydrogen peroxide are best in killing off germs.
Alcohol kept at a concentration around 70% can be diluted with water or Aloe Vera to make hand sanitizers to kill Coronavirus.
Even though they may be effective, but there is no evidence that Vinegar, Tea Tree Oil and natural products can kill Coronaviruses.
Worthy of acceptance is the suggestion by the WHO that we should avoid touching our eyes, mouth or nose with unwashed hands.
Nations have adopted measures such as quarantines(stay-at-home order),lockdown(shelter-in-place order),curfews,travel bans and restrictions ad infinitum.
Already, over 50 Coronavirus(COVID-19) vaccine trials are ongoing according to the World Health Organization(WHO).
Forty-five (45) countries have also signed up to a WHO-led multi-country level solidarity clinical trial of different drugs.
The government of Ghana has started administering hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug to COVID-19 patients.
It gladdens my heart to note that the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research has begun a clinical trial of a locally produced food supplement, COA FS, proven to be an immune booster that may help I'm the fight against the virus.
Germany as well activated its flying ICU plane with a capacity of 44 beds of which 16 are for high intensive care patients and up to 25 medical staff, to fly Coronavirus patients from Italy to hospitals in Germany.
We need more of such explorations and inventions. This is not the time for superstition.
All we need now is research, not panic or emotional excesses.
Our epidemiologists, scientists, medical laboratory technicians, herbal scientists and the brainiacs in the study of nature must begin to pull out the Ph.D.'s and doctor's degree's from the drawers. Time to get to the laboratory and research labs and find an urgent solution.
More resources should be channeled by governments towards studies that can unravel the truth about the virus and the possible way out.
There must be an end to Coronavirus someday somehow.
And that solution can be your curiosity.
That hope insight as we battle COVID-19 is intensive research, not hysteria.
With God, energetic effort and research, the world shall overcome!
Editorial Note: COVID-19; all we need is research, not panic or anxiety.
What is the future impact of Coronavirus on the world?
By:Ananpansah B Abraham (AB)
Blogger/local reporter/Teacher/Assembly Man for Canteen Electoral Area