If we consider science and scientific research to be a cricket ball, most scientists are excellent spinners of the ball, they spin in the pace over and throw fast the ball in slow bowling session, would neither contains the run nor would take any wicket. If they could rarely stop boundary or a six, wah!, that is certainly celebrated as great fete, thanks to the cricket enthusiasts in the stadium stacked up in different rows based on the price tag of the seat that they have booked. Cheerleaders are also there to clap.
The virology and immunology of Corona also enjoys the same level of confusion and pandemonium from the scientific fraternity. May be due to the knowledge limitation in advance, COVID 19 has been named as ‘novel corona’. The prefix ‘novel’ will absolve all the blames because it is new to me, new to you and new to everyone.
Therefore the scientists need time to understand and study and until then the virus shall remain as ‘hero’ in medical field, newer and newer tell tales will emerge but never any clarity or answer to the fundamental question.
COVID 19 is undergoing rapid mutation. Therefore already those who are infected by COVID 19 and got cured are equally vulnerable to re-infection by another mutant virus. Studies on monkeys conducted by Chinese research group have recently proved the above facet of COVID 19. It means, the immunity supposed to have developed in the body after first infection due to one mutant may not work against another mutant.
It means, our immunity is not going to protect us from re-infection is the possible interpretation or inference, for the time being. Otherwise, one has to get infected by all possible mutants of novel corona; God alone knows how many mutations are possible. Scientists cannot answer the above question because it is novel corona.
How long the corona is going to remain as ‘novel’ corona? In simple sense, as long as science wants, the corona virus will remain as ‘novel’.
Now the question is can we ever have India free of novel corona?
From the explanations available so far about Corona from the scientific fraternity, Corona has come to stay and not to go. When the medical consequences gets lessen, corona will lose its importance; become an accepted pathogen, no more worry and no more lock down.
The lock down may continue for indefinite period of time until our scientists certify, the novelty of corona has gone and it can enter into the list of various pathogens that live and procreate with us like tuberculosis, typhoid, cholera etc. The problem of science, even the science doesn’t know.
Politics when enters science, we all know, it would pollute, contaminate and adulterate ‘science’. The best example is the science around cow urine, AYUSH preparations etc. When the present ruling dispensation expresses its obsession over cow urine therapy or AYUSH, many research laboratory and scientists would immediately jump to the caldron to prove the value of all such ‘stuff’s to please the ruling dispensation.
What would be the consequence of reverse happening; science enters the political space? Simple answer is confusion and disaster.
The political decisions are partly populist and partly governance centric. The matrix of politics is quite clear, obvious; black and white and there is no wishy-washy approach. But on the other hand the medical science is highly gummy, mucilaginous, sticky and often remains as an unclear orphan.
If we ask a clinician about whether 250 mg acetaminophen is sufficient to a given patient, the answer would be vague, because the patient may require only 200 or less or more than 250 mg. How soon the patient would get benefit, again the same level of vagueness would continue, it may take 20 minutes, or more or less than 20 minutes, if you ask why such vagueness then the reply would be the age, underlying conditions, whether the drug was taken after full meal or in empty stomach…… etc. No question shall be answered in simple language.
The problem India face today is medico-political and governance & livelihood centric.
Our medical fraternity and policy makers in medical and scientific field need not be competent in understanding the diversity of India and hence their medical advice centring on governance is bound to cause disaster to our country. Similarly our politicians cannot understand the nuances in science and the associated vagueness and hence won’t get any clear answer from science as how to shape the governance policy.
Our doctors may claim they too know diversity because patient to patient, the disease may be same but treatment and diagnosis can be quite challenging due to obvious and man- made (alcoholism, smoking etc.,) variability. But India as a whole is different from the differences that exist in our huge population at individual and collective level.
Have we messed up everything? Certainly, we have messed up everything from start to end. We should have limited the role of medical wisdom in political decisions. Considering the larger issues and our diverse, unique context, lock down should have been adopted as last option.
Because the science that recommends lock down only now says corona is too novel, mutate fast, infection due to one mutant need not offer protection against another mutant……. etc. It means, corona is going to stay. It means, whether corona is going to kill more and more people or not, but certainly corona is going to kill our economy and livelihood, if lock down continues.
No political or policy decision taken by any government in India since independence has been so confusing and direction less like the present one and now we gaze at sky to ask whether lock down should continue or not and if yes, how long, and can we totally eliminate corona at all, when the lock down can be lifted etc.