Who Will Bell the Cat?
The World Health Assembly recently adopted a resolution to probe the zoonotic origins of Sars-CoV-2. China, which was earlier reluctant, eventually agreed to the WHO-led probe. A thorough probe is needed to ensure public health measures are taken to prevent a recurrence of this pandemic. While China has not agreed to this probe, their support is based on the probe being carried out after the pandemic has stabilised. However, waiting for months for the pandemic to come under control will impact the investigation and might hinder chances of arriving at a definitive source of the virus.
Further, claims of the virus having escaped from a lab because of negligence or even the virus being a deliberately made bioweapon have been circulated and even touted by high-ranking officials from the US government. If the WHO probe does not find a definitive source, these theories will likely get more traction. But investigating possible laboratory origins – either negligence driven or deliberate dissemination – will likely fall beyond the scope of the WHO investigation. This investigation encroaches on the territory of another multi-lateral treaty: The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). (Read more)
A WHO expert noted in a briefing that ” It still appears to be rare that an asymptomatic individual actually transmits onward.” This led to confusion and scientific pushback which eventually led to WHO to backtrack and clarify the statement.
Experts have been saying for a while that asymptomatic transmission is possible and Dr Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said in an interview that the WHO statement was “not correct” and “we know from epidemiological studies they can transmit to someone who is uninfected even when they’re without symptoms.” (Read more)
Hydroxychloroquine: Good or Bad? Part II
The HCQ debate rages on – subsequent to the WHO pausing the use of HCQ in the Solidarity Trials, ICMR wrote to the WHO citing differences with observed data from data published in the Lancet. Primary areas of difference were the purpose of HCQ (prophylactic for the ICMR study; therapeutic for the Lancet study) and dosage.
Subsequent to this letter, ICMR published its findings in the Indian Journal of Medical Research (IJMR). The study suggests that the sustained use of HCQ along with appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE) was associated with a reduced risk of COVID-19 infection among healthcare workers. While the study provides conclusive results, its publication in an ICMR journal and the use of its results for policy before a peer review have raised questions. (Read more)
Meanwhile, Things Just Got Weird:
Will the cow provide us a way to cure COVID-19? Not the way you think though. A biotech company has created genetically modified cows to pump out human antibodies to subdue SARS-CoV-2. Trials planned for summer 2020.
A sunken village is about to re-emerge: A medieval Italian ghost town which has been submerged in a lake is set to re-emerge next year. The 12th century town drowned in 1946 because of the construction of an hydroelectric dam. The lake is set to be drained next year and visitors can walk around the town ruins.
Man Wanted Ban On Coca Cola, Thums Up; Supreme Court Fines Him Rs 5 Lakh: A man filed a PIL seeking a ban on Coca Cola and Thums Up citing health concerns. However, he could not provide any evidence of the health concerns or reasons why only these two brands were bad for health. The Supreme Court dismissed the petition and ordered a penalty. Now if only we could penalise everyone who makes claims without evidence.