Antibodies — the human body’s primary defence against any infection — are produced by the immune system of a human being. Mankind has not been able to develop any antibiotics against viruses; so once a virus enters the body, a process of rigorous production of antibodies takes place. These antibodies are responsible for fighting the virus, at cellular level.
At this stage, scientists around the world are working tirelessly to develop a cure for coronavirus. Several countries including the US, UK and Germany have started clinical trials with agents that can turn out to be the potential vaccines against COVid-19. But this process requires a lot of time, which at this stage, we cannot afford. Hence, for the human race, any possible defense against the infection which exists so far, is what the “Antibodies” offer.
How to build immunity against coronavirus?
The procedure which involves acquiring blood serum from the surviving victims and injecting it into the bodies of people infected by coronavirus, might prove to be highly effective. Such a process might also help patients build “passive immunity” — defensive mechanism which is not body native.
Since the breakout, precautions and safety measures have remained a priority, all over the globe. The world probably has had enough in terms of fighting the virus, and might not be able to bear anymore consequences. In these testing times, a procedure which not only identifies the virus but also discerns if the patient was formerly infected by the disease, would be of great advantage. An Antibody test can perform all the aforementioned tasks timely and very accurately.
Are World leaders to be blamed?
Stephen Myrow, an economic expert, illustrates how the world leaders have performed against coronavirus. The rapid flow of the pandemic to every corner of the globe created a wave of terror and alarm amongst the people. This atmosphere of panic and anxiety was also responsible for causing an increased number of fatalities. People who resorted to panic buying at grocery stores, eventually contracted the virus, while waiting in long ques outside stores.
Presently, even the wealthiest nations are facing shortages of food and medical supplies. The rising demand, combined with modest production of ventilators, led to a severe price-hike of these lifesaving equipments.
China so far, has been quite successful in containing the effects of coronavirus. Despite that, it is also facing economic decline, crashing stocks, rising casualties, and wide spread lockdowns.
Corona ravaging the global economy?
Markets in Europe and Asia have nearly collapsed. The past few weeks were one of the worst for stocks, since the 2008 financial crisis. The spread of Covid-19 has placed almost everything under turmoil. Drastic effects are being experienced by the tourism sector, construction industry, and even the financial markets worldwide. Hence, there are growing fears of a Global recession in the making.
China makes up a much larger share of the world economy than it did in 2003, when SARS — an illness caused by a sub-type of coronavirus broke out. Large companies like Apple and Nike are also facing the negative consequences, in terms of lesser profits, during this time period.
The rapidly increasing number of people who have been infected or died from the virus will cause a sustained economic crisis. Global economy will eventually have to bear the brunt. After several weeks of declining markets, it was only yesterday, when the Dow capped a three-day bull market. The only other significant stock market turnaround, dates back to the ‘Great Depression’.
What was Pakistan’s response?
Pakistan had to take tough decisions from the very beginning. The close vicinity of the ground zero of coronavirus, and the hotbed being the closest ally; Pakistan did not have many options.
Even then, the real threat came from the Western border (Taftan), which the country least anticipated. A large number of pilgrims from Taftan border entered Balochistan. In a matter of days, they had spread all over the country, resulting in the surge of the number of cases.
However, apart from that one incident, Pakistan has so far been able to contain the number of infected people. At this stage, there are 1500 confirmed cases in the country. This figure is not that serious, especially if we compare it with European countries.
Government in Pakistan has imposed a partial lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19, which will remain in effect till mid April. It has become necessary to create a robust response plan to contain the outbreak and prevent it from spreading further. In doing so, the country requires stringent measures for early detection of potential cases.
Pakistan: Waiting for Allah, Anti-bodies and high temperatures?
Pakistan is preparing emergency response systems; increasing capacity to detect and provide care to patients; and also making sure that hospitals are equipped with sufficient facilities. A university campus in Faisalabad has been turned into a temporary quarantine center for the patients arriving from Iran. The National Coordination Committee, aims to develop National Preparedness & Response Plan for Covid-19, which will be adopted as a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for dealing with future epidemics.
Pakistan was running short of diagnostic kits and therefore, a team from Punjab University has recently developed an inexpensive diagnostic kit which tests suspected coronavirus patients. Its price is fixed at Rs 800 or 5 dollars only.
According to Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Science and Technology Ch. Fawad Hussain, 70 percent of UK born Pakistani scientists have returned to Pakistan. He further said, COMSATS University has developed an artificial skin, which would soon be sold commercially. A team of medical experts carrying a large quantity of medical supplies has also arrived from China to help Pakistan fight the disease.
But despite all these efforts by the government, Pakistan best defence may lie in its public’s immunity, their ability to produce anti-bodies and its soaring temperatures. Pakistan people – unlike their counterparts in the rich west – are used to fighting infections on their own without flu shots and vaccines and many secretly believe that corona virus whether it is Wuhan-400 or a product of an American lab will not survive in Punjab and Sindh’s heat. So like Christina Lamb’s book, “Waiting for Allah” most Pakistanis (and govt in Islamabad) may actually be waiting for divine help in the form of “anti-bodies” and “hot summers”.
Yamna Sabir is a freelance writer. She has done her masters in communication studies from Govt. College University Faisalabad and she aspires to be a civil servant. Global Village Space Editorial team may not necessarily agree with her view and analysis in this Op-Ed.