At this onset of the cold season in Kashmir, there is fear of a “twindemic” – of influenza and Covid-19 together – that will make for a tug-of-war between invisible viruses and human beings. People are now tired of mask-wearing, social distancing, and hand washing. It is a golden opportunity for the viruses. Epidemiologists are quite worries about the conjunction of influenza virus strains and of the novel coronavirus, as both cause similar symptoms – cold, cough, fever, running nose, malaise, chills, etc. As we are aware, both types of viruses carry the RNA (Ribonucleic acid) as genetic material which is now stable, and that is why it is difficult to develop vaccines against them. Researchers in western countries are claiming they are in Phase 3 of the development of the vaccine but right now we should be prepared for the worst.
Viruses have emerged as a major challenge for humanity. Both the novel coronavirus and the influenza virus have a high transmission rate and everybody is worried about the double whammy. These viruses are so cunning that it is proving to be the most difficult job for the research fraternity to develop a vaccine against them. Humans are in a continuous race with these invisible creatures and they cannot afford to lag behind. There is nowhere on earth they can go where there is no virus. As Mirza Ghalib had lamented,
Rahiye ab aise jagah chal kar jahan koi na ho
Hamsukhan koi na ho aur ham-zabaan koi na ho
—The writer is a PhD scholar in Clinical Biochemistry at SKIMS, Srinagar. firstname.lastname@example.org