Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

[op-ed of the day] A sneeze, a global cold and testing times for Chinaop-ed snap

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much.

Mains level : Paper 2- Dealing with outbreaks of infectious disease.


Context

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the coronavirus outbreak a global emergency, as the outbreak continues to spread outside China.

Coronavirus outbreak and Chinese response

  • What is coronavirus? Normally, coronavirus is a large family of viruses that are often the source of respiratory infections, including the common cold.
    • A small number of common infecting virus: Most of the viruses are common among animals and only a small number of them infect humans.
    • Mutation of animal base virus: Sometimes, an animal-based coronavirus mutates and successfully finds a human host.
  • Dangers of rapid urbanisation: Rapid urbanisation that forces animals and humans into closer proximity (as in the “wet market” in Wuhan) creates a perfect petri dish from where such zoonotic outbreaks can originate.

Concern for India

  • Reported case in Nepal and cause of concern for India: For India, the most critical is cases being reported in Nepal since India and Nepal share an open border though so far.
  • All tests undertaken in India have been negative.
  • A tweet by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on January 30 said that one positive case of a novel coronavirus patient

Understanding the new virus

  • The possible mode of transmission: According to the World Health Organization, during previous outbreaks due to other coronavirus, human-to-human transmission occurred through droplets, contact and fomites (objects or materials which are likely to carry infection, such as clothes, utensils, and furniture).
  • This suggests that the transmission mode of the 2019-nCoV can be identical.
  • The transmission even in incubation period: More significant is the new understanding that the virus is contagious even during incubation, that is even before a patient exhibits any symptoms.
    • This characteristic amplifies

Experience from the past outbreaks

  • Comparison with SARS: Comparisons are being drawn the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak in 2002-03.
    • Zoonotic case: SARS is also a zoonotic case, part of the coronavirus family with clues pointing to horseshoe bats in China as the likely source.
    • Late reporting by China in SARS:
    • The first incidents were reported in Guangdong province in November 2002 but WHO was officially informed only after three months.
  • Different response this time: Comparison with SARS: Comparisons are being drawn the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak in 2002-03.
    • Zoonotic case: SARS is also a zoonotic case, part of the coronavirus family with clues pointing to horseshoe bats in China as the likely source.
    • Late reporting by China in SARS: The first incidents were reported in Guangdong province in November 2002 but WHO was officially informed only after three months.
    • Different response this time: This time around, the Chinese government has been more open but the question being asked is whether it has been open enough?
    • The difference in time to develop vaccine: For SARS, it took 20 months from the genome sequencing to the first human vaccine trials; for the 2019-nCoV, authorities in the U.S. are working on a deadline of 90 days.

Lessons from Kerala in Nipah outbreak

  • Managing an outbreak with few casualties: Kerala managed to curtail the Nipah outbreak with few casualties.
    • Nipah is also zoonotic and made the jump from fruit bats to humans.
    • Though there were 17 deaths in India, effective quarantine measures by local authorities prevented the spread.
  • Infectious disease on the rise: Infectious diseases including those of the zoonotic variety are on the rise in India.
    • In addition, regions in India suffer from seasonal outbreaks of dengue, malaria and influenza strains.
    • The nation-wide disease surveillance programme needs to be strengthened.

Conclusion

India should brace itself for the possible outbreak of infectious diseases and frame policies to deal with such outbreaks in fast and effective ways.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
  Subscribe  
Notify of