Patterns of Pandealism
Elias Hakalehto, PhD, Adj. Prof.
CEO, Finnoflag Oy
Vice President, International Society of Environmental Indicators
Lifetime Fellow Member, International Society of Development and Sustainability (Japan)
(Published on the 8th of August 2022)
In Nature, an epidemic becomes pandemic if it spreads globally. In the case of Covid-19 disease, this has happened to several variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The variant strains threaten public and individual health. Unfortunately, no apparent signs of attenuation of this misery have appeared. Regardless of the vaccines developed against this illness.
During the "Spanish flu" between February 1918 and April 1920, in 25 months, the terrible epidemics which took the lives of 50-100M people globally faded away, although no vaccines against it existed. In the case of Covid-19, regardless of the majority of people in many countries being "fully vaccinated", there has not occurred a decrease in the numbers of the diseased in 30 months.
The vaccines have been around for about 1.5 years, with the global vaccination rate approaching 5 Billion individuals and 65% of the global population presently being nearly 8 Billion. In 1920, there were circa 1.92 people on Earth.
Now it seems that less and less interest remains toward the eradication of Covid-19, and it has not disappeared regardless of the vaccination campaign. In the aftermath of the pandemics, many other contagious diseases and ill-health conditions have risen. Therefore, public and private research on the pathogenic agents and protection against them should be accelerated. The current pandemic episode has put us repeatedly across novel situations. Although the information flow is considerable, most citizens and even specialists have been confused. Unfortunately, the dangerous disease and its impacts on societies have also become political tools.
Nevertheless, the biological facts have not changed. Truth is not dependent on our human aspirations. We cannot catch it by chasing it around, but it will eventually come to us if we allow that to happen (keep our understanding clear). And it never comes alone, but the cure and care will follow, as the truth never occurs without love. Consequently, there is no solution to oppressing people with regulations only, but the wiser conduct would be to foresee the development and do timely research. And to make use of novel technologies and scientific understanding. For the decision-makers, this would provide opportunities to allocate resources there, where it is not yet fashionable but will turn out to be most recommendable in the long run.
In biochemical engineering, or in microbial ecosystems and bioprocesses studies, we have encountered the indifference of time and scale as the biological phenomena have been investigated deeper. However, the applications of the findings on the microscopic scale are increasingly influencing our lives. It is not only the IT technology which is moving to an ever-smaller scale, but the microbial cells, their interactions, molecules and atoms thereof do have an identifiable role in our technologies and societies.
And the truth beneath all science is unchangeable and independent of our theories, interpretations, and attitudes. To keep up with the pace of the seemingly changing world, we need vivant visions of scientific platforms. Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein wanted to point out the truth from many directions to make it more understandable.
Their actions are based on prevailing truth. Biological strains have their history, and come from somewhere. For example, this present pandemic situation has developed according to some lines that could be retrospectively studied. Surprisingly enough, it has not weakened regardless of the extensive efforts of the healthcare system. Consequently, more effective preparations and protective measures need to be developed without posing a threat first to people. And the associated or multiple threats need to be predicted right. The degrees of difficulty should not make these risks ignorable in our minds. The research on them should not be subjected to speculations or political aims.
If the eradication of the pandemic virus is aimed at, the pathogen should be first prevented from spreading. If the agent varies, the medicines, antibodies, vaccines or other clinical means may not be adequate for achieving that goal. In his book "How Contagion Works?" published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson (U.K.) in 2020, physicist Paolo Giordano writes: "Epidemiologists know that the only way to stop the epidemic is to reduce the number of Susceptibles. Their density needs to become too low for the virus to keep spreading. We need to keep the marbles apart: when the sequence of marbles hitting each other is sufficiently low, the chain reaction will stop".
In the case of individuals, the decisive factor in stopping the spreading is to keep the infective doses low. That is where physical compartments, disinfectants, UVC, volatile sterilization etc., are coming to help our immune system and defences stop the chain. According to some studies, masks lower the possibility for contagion to 1/6. - If we think that some variant is so weak a pathogen that we could let it distribute freely to get everyone immunized, it is dangerous. We cannot know the effects of it on every individual, and most importantly, the free ticket to spread will give the virus more opportunities to make new subtypes. These could be more hazardous, and they could, in the case of Covid-19, always form and modify into zoonotic infections which will shuttle between humans and numerous animals.
Next Autumn could be a hard one for the overstressed healthcare sector. The novel pandemic microbes may arise at any time, and their likelihood is significantly higher toward the end of October, as the cold and wet conditions will occur in the countries of the Northern hemisphere. - A year ago, we started using the term "panbiotic" in my research group about a microbe which could somewhat attenuate pandemics by keeping the balances in the biological systems. These kinds of positive natural forces underline the direction of our research. Learning about microbes and their constructive impacts on human societies is essential.
The complexity of this world requires more idealism and compassion to cope with the upcoming issues. However, in healthcare, the truth should never be optional. The pandemic waves are not over, nor is the battle against them.