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Covid: Collective responsibility is need of the hour

Filed on March 31, 2021

Researchers still grappling with questions related to the origin of the Sars-Cov-2 virus.

More than a year on into the pandemic, researchers are still grappling with questions related to the origin of the Sars-Cov-2 virus in Wuhan, China, in 2019.

A four-week investigation by the World Health Organisation in China was expected to shed light on the pandemic and offer some insight into the mutating nature of the virus, and yet the 120-page report is raising more questions than answers. The untimely nature of the investigation and the inability of researchers to access raw data has meant that the many conjectures discussed before the investigation have remained hypothesis at best.

Different possibilities have just been neatly classified as the ‘likely to very likely’, ‘possible to likely’, ‘possible’ and ‘extremely unlikely’ categories. But to say that we have learnt something new from this exercise would be wrong.

The WHO recognises the implausibility of the report. who director-general Tedros Ghebreyesus has pointed that the assessment was not extensive enough and more data and studies are required to reach more robust conclusions. The laboratory leak hypothesis, even though categorised as extremely unlikely by investigators, also needs further investigation, as per the WHO chief.

The inconclusive report on the origins of Covid-19 virus does little justice to the researchers, frontline workers, doctors, scientists, and virologists, who have been heavily invested in saving lives for over a year. If this investigation did not work well, it is difficult to say if another similar effort will.

The WHO and countries should concentrate on inoculation drive against the virus. Sars-Cov-2 virus has infected more than 128 million people globally; more than 2.8 million have lost their lives. More than 565 million doses of Covid-12 vaccines have been administered around the world. While the pace of vaccination is commendable in a handful of countries such as Israel and the UAE, it is very slow in much of the world.

This pandemic has been a social, political and scientific experiment of sorts, and there are lessons that need to be remembered: It’s never too early to prepare for a pandemic or a catastrophe of similar magnitude. The world community should start assessing risks and getting ready for the next one by forming a stronger cohort of nations that are willing to work together for the larger good. The world community today lacks trust. Nationalistic interests weigh more than collective responsibility, which should change.

Openness and deeper collaboration have been the hallmarks of our common development. These values should be cherished and a new worldview should emerge from this crisis that works well for the collective good of all.





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