No COVID-19 silver bullet

No COVID-19 silver bullet

Friday, July 10, 2020

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Dear Editor,

Recent reports out of China are that a herdsman has caught the bubonic plague. A 15-year-old girl from neighbouring Mongolia also has it. In May, a Kazakhstan couple who visited Mongolia died. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says, every year in the US, seven people are infected with the bubonic plague.

The bubonic plague is a 14th-century infection that killed some 50 million people. Although thought to be eradicated, it still kills people in the 21st century.

Both COVID-19 and the bubonic plague are believed to be zoonotic diseases. They evolve. According to Darwinian theory, organisms evolve, and if successful, reproduce prolifically. There is the novel coronavirus, Wuhan strain, that is more lethal and less transmittable than the European strain that is less lethal, but easily transmittable.

Although many belief that a vaccine will solve the pandemic, I am highly sceptical. Vaccines are helpful but kill many worldwide. According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, over 490,000 developed paralysis as a result of oral polio vaccines between 2000 and 2017 in India. There is a risk with every vaccine. It can be harmful to a small percentage of every population. Is it ethical to force people to take vaccines, given the inherent risk? I personally think it is very complex, and a vaccine is not a silver bullet.

Let us be wise and make sagacious decisions after we assess the circumstances and challenges.

Brian Ellis Plummer

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