FOR this world to revolve on its axis flawlessly without any glitches, it needs One Mind, a United Force, caring for it and nature within as God intended.
The word care is similar to that of nurse, and tend.
It took many generations to be reminded of the need to do as tasked in the beginning.
Lest I digress further, what I am talking about is the One Health Concept.
As we care or nurse or tend for human health so should we for the environment and animals. We all share the same ecosystem.
“Many professionals with a range of expertise who are active in different sectors, such as public health, animal health, plant health and the environment, should join forces to support One Health approaches,” says the World Health Organisation.
Zimbabwe has experts in human health who have shared their expertise on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) a zoonotic disease transmitted from animals which ate plants, or fruits and the animals reportedly a bat and or a pangolin, to humans.
“Information on influenza viruses circulating in animals is crucial to the selection of viruses for human vaccines for potential influenza pandemics,” adds the WHO.
Since this is all about the One Health Concept, I sought not to ask human health expert but a plant health expert Mr Wilbert Mutezo to see if the COVID-19 pandemic can be addressed through the One Health Concept.
Below is what he had to say.
Kuda Pembere: You are a revered Agriculture or Plant Health Expert tell us, how does the One Health Concept fit into this pandemic?
Wilbert Mutezo: On an viral infections, human, plants and animals beings depend on the concept of passive immunity. Our bodies once infected will develop systems to avoid future infections. The ability to destroy the infection and further protection from further infections is a key strategy. It is therefore vital that people like in the case of this pandemic must eat food which boosts the immnune system. It has been identified that high vitamin source foods will assits on this. A latest technology being tried to sequence this virus utilises this concept (Crispr Cas9). We need to promote inherent immunity which is more sustainable than vaccines. Thats why you see mostly people with underlying complications are most affected. However, a planned strategy to improve dietary needs of people will do very much progress in reduction of the negative impacts of this pandemic. Pandemics need a global perspective. We as a nation must be thinking beyond avoidence. Yes we control transmisisons that way, but we need to completely eliminate the virus or develop a vaccine which complete destroys the vaccine. This is not an easy task. We need our molecular biologists, geneticists and other scientists to come together and find a local solution for this.
Kuda Pembere: Dietary needs are indeed important. In this pandemic there are people at high risk for having underlying complications such as Asthma, BP, Diabetes, what immune boosting vitamins should they be taking?
Wilbert Mutezo: A lot of the fruits have high levels of vitamins. These are key to boosting their imnune system. Also herbs, ginger and garlic will also help. Also should avoid dehydration at all cost as this make the body weak.
Kuda Pembere: I understand you are studying and working on genomics and genetics of plants. Since we have that One Health Concept, tell us what you have learnt of the COVID19 Genetics and Genomics.
Wilbert Mutezo: It’s very unstable as it is giving scientists sleepless nights because of its ability to give multiple mutations. Also worrying is how it has rapidly been able to infect people in different environments which is rare. Scientists are struggling to get the sequence of the viral genome. This is key in developing the vaccine.
Kuda Pembere: Does this explain the “Its something we have never seen.” statements we are reading?
Wilbert Mutezo: Yes. It seems its not in its natural form. It might be a manufactured product
Kuda Pembere: You mean natural form like Pneumonia or Malaria?
Wilbert Mutezo: Natural forms of the virus should perform differently in different environments. And are easy to see trends. This is not true with COVID19
Kuda Pembere: Please explain further.
Wilbert Mutezo: Since this virus started in cool and cold places, we expect it to spread faster in countries with cool environments. Suprisingly its also infecting people in hot environments. This is what is making scientists disturbed. They feel this virus might be having so many strains(different forms) which makes it difficult to find cure
Kuda Pembere: As a nation I am worried these molecular biologists, geneticists and other scientists are a no show yet they could steal the show. What is your take on their deafening silence in Zimbabwe?
Wilbert Mutezo: We have not been realising how key research is. These people need to be incentivised to keep up with research. Most have gone out of the country and very few will be experience to work with such high level risky viral species. We might not have any facility which can handle such research as this must be done with close monitoring from government as it is a security threat issue
Kuda Pembere: Let’s talk about the different interim therapeurics like the Hydroxychloroquine, Kaletra the ARV, Prednisolone, etc. Is it wise for Governments or healthcare workers to use them while waiting for the vaccine?
Wilbert Mutezo: Thats a gross mistake. People might develop what we call cross resistance. If they get HIV or malaria those drugs will fail to work.