TORONTO – The most intriguing news on the Covid-19 front this week came in the form of an announcement that the current director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) is seeking a renewed 5-year term.
As head of the WHO, the current Director-General is synonymous with a Global Failure, yet he is seeking another 5-year appointment to an organization that boast a $7.2 Billion (USD) annual budget. So far, no contestants have emerged.
Yet, two years into a pandemic we are still wrestling with the absence of common procedures implementable in every in the event of a breakout of a Global Pandemic. We knew they are coming. We had experienced indicators of a future global pandemic like SARS and HIV-Aids.
Should the WHO snot have had in place at least one Global procedure that any Nation could immediately implement when confronted with a possible Pandemic? It appears that the WHO focused on identifying and tracking. Nothing pro-active. Management and little else. End of story.
Although I am not pro mandated treatments, I do believe in Prevention. Until victims began to succumb in their tens of thousands, we were blissfully unaware of the true virulence of Covid-19. We have focused our strategies on getting the contagion under control. In the context of what we knew in the early days of 2020, the extreme measures taken to-date seem tolerable.
But now it is time to get back to the practise of evidence-based medicine. It is important to understand that normal practise is to prescribe medicines that have been developed and approved to treat a specific disease.
The FDA and Health Canada rarely approve drugs to prevent a disease except for Vaccines. There are few exceptions. For example, our cholesterol lowering drugs were developed based on the famous Framingham Heart Study that collected epidemiological data for over 50 years just to identify the risk factors for cardiovascular disease. It was from that epidemiological study that we learned that it was not high cholesterol alone that was a cardiovascular risk factor but also diabetes, high blood pressure, family history and a history of smoking etc.
That data changed our lifestyles and the treatment of heart disease.
Regarding Covid-19, the list of risk factors is not as exhaustive, so, rather than using evidence-based data we continue to respond with tactics seemingly extreme. To continue to do so is a very risky way of prescribing medicines
As a Clinical Scientist, I suggest that our priority should be analysis of the Hospital data on patients who have either been on ventilator support and or have died after contracting COVID 19. We do not have to wait many years for this epidemiology study since every hospital in every nation around the Globe have already collected and continue to collect this data. Going forward, that data can serve as the foundation for evidence-based Vaccine treatment for COVID 19 and its family variants.
For instance, the elderly may be at greater risk because with age comes a higher incidence of risk factors that would cause impediment to proper breathing, thus prompting the need for a ventilator or succumb to COVID 19.
A preventative strategy might begin with a Global hospital-based epidemiology study focusing our Vaccine on patients with these risk factors regardless of age:
- Known Cardiovascular disease
- Immune Diseases
- History of Cancer and or current diagnosis
- Those who are long time addicts of Alcohol or other drugs
- Respiratory diseases such as Asthma or Chronic Bronchitis or severe respiratory allergies
- Those that are older and showing signs of a weak state
- Children with a history of Asthma and/or prone to annual influenza
- Children with cystic fibrosis
- Those who work in toxic environments like a Chemical company etc. or who are exposed to TAR fumes etc.
- Those who work in enclosed environments like airplanes or work in the mines etc.
The WHO should the budget for the above study. I would suggest to Canada, the USA and Italy and others that we make the WHO accountable for their recent failures and ask for leadership that is focused on Health prevention. Covid-19 will not be our last Global threat.
BScN., MSc., MBA