NEW DELHI: The COVID-19 pandemic means it’s time for prudence not panic, science not stigma, facts not fear, says Dr Niteen Wairagkar, a global pandemic and new viral diseases R&D expert in conversation with StratNews Global Associate Editor Amitabh P. Revi on dealing with the ‘infodemic on the pandemic’ and individual and institutional dos and don’ts. Dr Wairagkar stresses governments need to prepare for the ‘best reasonable worst possible scenario’ to stay ahead of the curve.
On examples like Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau self-isolating, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro testing negative and European Army Chiefs being quarantined as well as the criticality of health, other essential services and medical waste disposal in the time of the virus, Dr Wairagkar elaborates on the need to focus on ‘protecting the protectors’. The global pandemic expert also talks about the need to activate, review, revise and strengthen business continuity plans for a country’s strategic forces and the need to look ahead so medical infrastructure and resources can cope.
On the lessons learnt from different countries, Dr Wairagkar says it’s time for all of us to ask “what can we do for the country, not what the country can do for us”.
He also outlines the unprecedented efforts towards a vaccine and the steps needed for efficiency, safety and ultimately ramping up production to protect people around the globe
Dr. Niteen Wairagkar is a physician-scientist and a global Health professional focused on vaccines and pandemic preparedness. He has worked with global research and philanthropy organizations (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, World Health Organization, CEPI, US-CDC and Indian Council of Medical Research) on global health issues and emerging viral diseases. He is credited with coordinating and accelerating global Research & Development of the first-ever maternal RSV vaccine, maternal influenza vaccines, pandemic H1N1 vaccine, Universal influenza vaccines, and Measles aerosol vaccine. A firm believer of the immense power of vaccines and a strong proponent of maternal and neonatal immunization strategy, he would like to see the majority of vaccine-preventable diseases eradicated in his lifetime.