Knowledge of virology is not the only thing we need in order to fight a real pandemic, so to answer the question posted above, setting up a virology institute will not make a huge difference.
If the Philippines was serious about pandemic preparedness, then we should pay attention to the long-ignored Senate Bill No. 1573 or the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act which would require the government to create a comprehensive national health strategy that will prepare our health care system to meet public health emergencies. If passed and implemented, the bill would force our government to look at comprehensive solutions, instead of just relying on experimental vaccination and masking.
In order to come up with comprehensive solutions, the government needs many kinds of health experts, not virologists. In fact, the reason why our current COVID response has been patchy and illogical is that our government relied only on epidemiologists and infectious disease physicians. Our government did not tap immunologists, who could have informed the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) that the human body has the capacity to fight off viruses.
If we had immunologists in the IATF, then they would have known that school closures and lockdowns were unnecessary and that they would only prolong the “pandemic”.
- Scientific evidence shows schools can clearly be opened
- Science shows schools must re-open for in-person learning
- New York Times: Schools need to stay open
- Science says it’s time to open schools
- German experts: Schools and day care centers should be reopened
- Dr. Knut Wittkowski: A second wave of coronavirus infections will come as a direct result of social distancing and self isolation
- Dr. Knut Wittkowski: Lockdowns are creating a new epidemic
Immunologists would have told the IATF, too, that they do not need to obsess about vaccinating young people because their immune systems could fight off the virus, hence preventing them from getting severe COVID complications.
Two questions keep nagging at us as we write this article: Could this push for a “virology institute” really be a cover for the setting up of Biolabs in the Philippines? Can this be a cover for dangerous gain-of-function research?