Just Imagine …
… The Covid-19 pandemic is a Blessing in Disguise. It has taught us some life lessons.
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world
And the world will live as one
(John Lennon 1971)
Over a lifetime we hear many things about how humankind is connected and how we are connected to everything on earth, in the universe and the supernatural. We have inherited all that came before us and, with the changes we make, we will pass it all on to the generations who come after us.
When we are young and we are studying life we have great intentions to live our best life and join the revolution to make the world a better, fairer place for all living things. Then we get into the rhythm of making a living and making a life in our immediate world and there isn’t much time to be particularly reflective about doctrine and the outside world.
Reading Scripture or going to Mass we hear that “we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members of one another” (Rom 12:5). The gist of Carl Jung’s theory is that we are connected to deposits of ancestral instinctual wisdom through the collective unconscious. It sounds like an inherited database we can tap into through our dreams when we are faced with something like a life crisis.
Sometimes I look back to Emerson’s essays on Nature and Compensation. His writing makes me think about cause and effect, how things are divided into two contrasted or opposed aspects. A quote of his is: “For everything you have missed, you have gained something else; and for everything you gain, you lose something.
These are all ideas or theories that can’t be put under a microscope and examined and analysed to find shortcomings in them.
Covid-19 coronavirus came along, we passed it on to one another and we saw and felt how connected we are as people got sick and some even died from it. The virus/parasite that caused a pandemic throughout the world can be and is put under microscopes and intensely scrutinised under modern diagnostic equipment. It is a major life crisis for all the people living in the world at this time.
Scientists believe that the ancestral origin of the coronavirus was in a bat species, the parasite/virus spilled over to a human being, mutated dramatically in the human host, morphed into a hybrid that is a better, stronger version of itself and thrived. It is possible that it could spill over from humans to farm and domestic animals.
The scientific community, universities, pharmaceutical manufacturers and governments put their heads together and reviewed the decades of research already done to find vaccines for coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV-2, MERS, HIV/AIDS, Influenza, Zika and Ebola. Some adjustments were needed for the new Covid-19. Nearly all the ingredients in Covid-19 vaccines are also the ingredients in many foods – fats, sugars, and salts. U.S. Operation Warp Speed provided $18 billion funding and global efforts got underway at Pfizer, the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, Moderna, AstraZenica, Sinopharm Group, Sinovac Biotech, Johnson & Johnson, Novavax, CanSino Biologics, Merck, Sanofi-Glaxo Smith Kline and Bharat Biotech.
Seven vaccines were approved and manufactured and given to lots of people.
Pfizer BioNTech is a messenger Ribonucleic Acid type (mRNA) made in a laboratory
Moderna is the same as that.
Johnson & Johnson/Jannsen is a Viral Vector vaccine that uses harmless virus
AstraZenica is the same as that.
Gamaleya, Russia Sputnik V uses weakened virus to get at spike
Sinopharm, Beijing vaccine uses inactivated coronavirus
Bharat, India Covaxin uses inactivated dead virus
Although they use different mechanisms all the vaccines instruct or teach our cells to make a spike protein that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. Our immune response produces antibodies that recognize the real virus and protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our body.
The manufacturing in many countries around the world of Covid-19 vaccines is unprecedented. Pfizer alone has 40 Pfizer-owned factories plus 200 contract manufacturers. AstraZenica has 20 supply partners in 15 countries to create regional supply chains. Low-to-middle-income countries don’t have manufacturing capabilities. They are hampered by lack of capital, technology, skills, and poor infrastructure. The key objective of any pharmaceutical production has to be safety, efficacy and quality standards that meet Good Manufacturing Practice and the guidelines set by the EMA, FDA, WHO and their counterparts. It will take time for these countries to be brought up to speed.
The excellent collaboration we witnessed on this front may serve as a blueprint for future work needed to bring about desirable outcomes. Political answers are needed so government and we-the-people who vote for them will have to get busy. Cooperation between the world’s religions could make the world a community. Ireland through membership in the EU, ESA, WHO, UN has access to knowledge of the universe acquired through space exploration and everything on planet earth too. This is the moment to use our hearts and our heads to fix the problems in our own country and deal with climate change.
The way we changed our behaviour to keep safe from Covid-19 virus illustrates that we can change when we feel a need to do so. It is predicted that mutations will change the characteristics of the original virus and hopefully weaken it so that we’ll be able to live with it like Influenza. By then people may be so tired of living with restrictions that they will feel, ‘life is too short, let’s just have fun’. But there will be a lot of work to be done – work – this may be where the Blessing in Disguise resides.
I got tired of some in the media asking ‘why aren’t we manufacturing vaccines in Africa for Africans’ and I wanted to answer that question.
I read that there are more viruses on earth than there are stars in the universe. Our human bodies hold close to 100 latent or benign viruses that have evolved with us. Bats harbour a greater proportion of viruses than many other groups of mammals. The viruses don’t seem to harm the bats that carry them because of co-evolution.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences has partnerships with USA, Europe, Asia, Africa, WHO, European Virus Archive, Netherlands, France, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia.