Prevention is better than cure is an adage most of us have been in tune with ever since we were in school. But somehow in the journey of contemporary civilisations, it is more selective than obligatory. Pandemics have been passing through human history for the past over 4000 years and till date, there appears to be no forewarning or an antidote still. Perhaps the absence of one risks a substantial part of the human civilisation.
More than often, the pandemics pass on before any vaccine arrives on the scene. The learning from past pandemics reveals that not everyone died. Those who were unhealthy (a word in common parlance) perished but those that were healthy survived the onslaught.
In simple medical terminology, the analogy of unhealthy and healthy would be high Immunity levels and low or poor immunity levels. In other words, those with high immunity levels would be better prepared to take on the diseases and could be resistants in its spread.
Pandemics will keep coming as they have been with a more evolved and dangerous concoction, even with the possibility of man-made laboratory intrusions to be used as a weapon to subjugate opposing ideologies, governments, and economies.
Medical research is pushing the boundaries of the unknown factors in medicine in many branches with the basic philosophy of looking for cures, but issues which could be a game-changer in the prevention of diseases, seem to have been huddled along with Administrative issues like Public Health, Urban and Rural Planning etc.
While it is most important to seek cures at the speed of thought, the prevention issues and concerns should also have been running piggyback on the international medical research timetable. It has been proved beyond doubt, that immunity is the most important key to fighting and preventing any diseases, big or small. All issues like public health, mental state, nutrition and physical wellbeing are a part of the whole issue of immunity.
I somehow feel certain, that in the made race to provide a curative mechanism, the high remunerative financials tip the scale to the curative side of research. The prevention to disease, ‘Mother Immunity’ is left by the wayside, gasping on the traditional unscientific legends and recipes passed on through Mom and Pop, Grandparents and beyond.
I am surprised, how has this been permitted to happen. The world is Challenged like never before with large sections of the world population seething in the realms of Financial and health insecurities. Raising of Immunity levels as a Holistic approach, not in the realm of Administrators but in the realm of Medical Research needs to be speeded up to catch up for the lost time.
It is amazing how till date, (though I am not a medical person, and may not be updated) the quantification of what would constitute high immunity and low immunity has not been codified. It has been left to fend for itself in the abstract world of administrators, policy planners, and unscientifically certified Mom and Grand Mom recipes.
There is no better time than now, for Immunologists from all over the world to have a relook into the aspect of Immunity as a preventive to all kinds of diseases and future epidemics and pandemics. Quantify and codify for the Health Delivery system in the world what would constitute an Ideal verifiable Immunity standard.
The WHO should start a Global Movement on Immunity for all as a preventive for all future diseases etc. Funding and Research on Immunity should be at par with the Financials reserved for the Curative and a more profitable Sector of Medical Research.
As a Global Citizen, I do demand from International Organizations of the stature of WHO to have a relook into the entire paradigm of Medical Research as a Holistic programme of Prevention better than cure and I do hope our Mother Immunity has not been left by the wayside intentionally.
(The writer is a Lucknow based businessman who has been a former chief warden Civil Defence, Lucknow)