This is what WHO’s chief scientist says about the end of covid pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemics is ongoing across the world for the last last two years. The deadly virus is still spreading among people and making them sick. Scientists and public health officials across the world have been trying their best to fight the pandemic.

Though the world has somewhat adapted to these pandemic days, people are still wondering when will this pandemic end, when will the virus stop mutating.

According to World Health Organization Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan, there is still a long road ahead not only to determine the origins of the coronavirus outbreak but also to educate people about public health and garner international support for the WHO.

During an interview with Swaminathan for Bloomberg Quicktake’s “Emma Barnett Meets”, the scientist answered some covid related questions.

When asked whether the scientist is surprised by the politicization of science, she answered that it was one of the things, which surprised her most. She also added, “It was very disappointing to see the attack on scientists and science. And it got stronger over the course of the pandemic and it has a potential to do a lot of damage”. She also said that young people need to improve their knowledge about scientific literacy, health literacy, and they should think more rationally to question information they see.

Speaking about the origins of the coronavirus, the Swaminathan said that almost all viral infections that newly emerge have been zoonotic infections. For example, the HIV, Zika virus, Ebola, SARS and MERS, the other two major coronaviruses that have infected humans, emerged from an animal or through an intermediate host. She said that the genetic sequences has indicated that the coronavirus perhaps originated from bats. But, they haven’t found how, when and where did the virus transmitted from animals to humans. That’s important to understand in order to prevent future pandemics.

Bloomberg asked the scientist if it is unusual that the initial cause of the outbreak is still unclear. Answering the question, she said that it’s not odd as it takes years to understand the origin of viruses. Giving an example, she said that the origin of the SARS virus and MERS, which is civet cats and camels, was known after years. Likewise, it took years to know that HIV came from chimpanzees.

Swaminathan was asked have you ruled out the theory that the coronavirus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China?. She answered that nothing has been ruled out. After looking at all evidences, and the scientists who went to China felt that the most likely scenario was that it came from an animal. However, she said that it is still unknown whether it came from a wild animal, a domesticated wild animal, or a domestic animal, a bird or a bat. She said they need to do more studies and examine all the data in the field in China.

Bloomberg questioned whether the WHO needs more power and she answered that the organisation needs more power to investigate outbreaks that could lead to pandemics. The 194 member states need to come together to agree on a set of rules to empower the WHO to do the kind of investigations that will benefit everyone. Those are the kind of discussions that will happen.

Also Read: No routine Covid testing before hospitalisation in Odisha

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