As initially thought, the on-going COVID-19 pandemic will end once the vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 is available. Now that the vaccine is finally here, the risk of infection still persists mainly because of the new mutated coronavirus which is spreading much more rapidly than the original coronavirus. Does this mean we should expect another pandemic anytime soon?
Many health experts are worried that the current vaccines might not be effective against the mutated coronavirus, which means that the risk is still there. The research institutes and groups are now focused to work on a new vaccine for the mutated coronavirus before it initiates another pandemic anytime soon.
There are also worried about more viruses to be transferred from animals to humans. While the original coronavirus also jumped from animals to human sources, if it has happened one time, there are high chances of it happening again.
So, what will happen if another virus which is similar to coronavirus and MERS but with a much deadlier nature is transmitted to humans? How are we going to manage the situation without the uncertainty of the virulence and risks attached?
The mortality rate of SARS-CoV-2 was less than 1% but the mortality rate of its closed cousin, MERS was 35%. Like COVID-19, MERS also jumped from camels to human hosts and it is not the first time that it has happened. Previously, another virus called Nipah virus also jumped from bats to humans and its mortality rate was as much as 75%.
Viruses are diverse and there are high chances of a pre-symptomatic transmission with a deadly disease progression. Like humans, viruses are changing too and these mutations are a part of their survival struggle. Unfortunately, their survival strategies are highly dangerous for humans increasing the risk of death.
In November 2020, the Federal Foreign Office of Germany along with the Wildlife Conservation Society conducted an online conference to discuss the next pandemic which may introduce new viruses like coronavirus along with other fatal pathogens.
While the whole world’s attention is diverted towards the on-going coronavirus pandemic, the infectious diseases experts are worried about the imbalance in nature especially, wild animals and humans. This concept is universally known as ‘One Health”.
Although most research experts, organizations, and governments agree to this they have not formulated any policy to make it happen. The purpose of this german conference was to urge the upcoming G20 conference to notice the threat to public health and wildlife-borne diseases which will disrupt the world economy as a whole.
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The Wildlife Conservation Society is the biggest and oldest organization which was founded in 1895, in the US. Along with 20 other prominent conservation groups, It aims to protect the wildlife and control human interaction especially through illegal trade, consumption, and sales.
Measures and decisions that affect public health directly are much needed to prevent another coronavirus pandemic in the coming years. But to make it happen, independent governments and organizations have to work together. Human density also has to be controlled which will eventually limit the interaction between humans and wild species.
All these things, managed through regional organizations, countries with matching interests might be challenging but it is not completely impossible.