Highlights:

  • Human virome is the habitat for nearly 380 trillion viruses
  • Viruses are essential for saltwater and freshwater ecosystem
  • Saltwater and freshwater both will play a vital role in post-COVID Indian economics
  • Covid-19 could become the fifth endemic virus in the Corona family make smaller but stronger local economic unit and be global in thinking and business

COVID-19 Virus is not going to leave you, now. Should it leave India after lockdown phase 4.0? – No, it won’t. After 6 months? 12 months? 18 months? Should the Virus say goodbye to India? No question of goodbye for a Virus. It has jumped to the human body or evolved to leave with us, forever but may not be such a lethal way as it is now. That’s the law of nature. Life evolves to live and coexist with other forms of life. We may not see them in bare eyes but the virus is also a form of “life” or not- scientifically but of course alive. They also want to live and our body is one of their habitats for the million years.

An adult human body, precisely human virome is the habitat for nearly 380 trillion viruses. Not only Human virome but Viruses are found in almost every ecosystem on Earth and are the most numerous type of biological entity. There is a vital role of viruses in the aquatic ecosystem and evolution. Viruses are essential for saltwater and freshwater ecosystem and also major agents responsible for the destruction of phytoplankton including harmful algal blooms (HAB) that can severely lower oxygen levels in natural waters, killing marine life. Water, one of the five elements of Nature, covers more than two-thirds of the Earth’s surface. The ocean provides us nearly 200 billion pounds of food (fish and shellfish) every year. Without a quality freshwater, we cannot produce enough local fish variety, raising animals and cultivation. Globally, 70% of freshwater is used for agriculture and an intricate system of viruses creates a balance in the whole aquatic ecosystem. Should we deny the role of viruses in our life and food safety? Or we should take the necessary lesson from viruses and transform it into a positive space – economic development for a Nation.  

Saltwater and freshwater both will play a vital role in post-COVID Indian economics. The government of India already announced a well-researched project of Rs. 20,000 Crore fund through Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampad Yojana in which Rs. 11,000 Crore for activities in Marine, Inland fisheries and Aquaculture and Rs. 9,000 Crore for the infrastructure of fishing harbours, cold chains, and markets, which may lead to an increase of 70 Lakh tons in production in the next five years and will double the exports to Rs. 1,00,000 Crore. Moreover, experts are expecting employment to 55 Lakh people from this package.

Billions of viruses in nature and trillions of viruses in the human body, so far we know. Are all of them bad for human health? There are no good or bad judgment goes for viruses. Some may create disease but many of them are beneficial or harmless or asymptomatic with our system, though for a long time we had a little knowledge about all of them before genomic sciences opened a new door to understand the human virome. Generally, viruses have had a ‘bad-boy’ reputation but some of them may help protect the body from illness, like ‘good bacteria’ dwell in our gut, collectively referred to as our microbiome which helps us to digest our food, building up the immune system and protect us from the disease. Interestingly, our microbiome includes lots of viruses that are not yet widely studied. In 2019, a teenager in the United Kingdom was reportedly close to death when phages were successfully used to treat a serious infection that had been resistant to antibiotics. Phages are viruses that infect and destroy ‘bad bacteria.’ Recent studies even show virus infection at a young age is important to ensure the proper development of our immune systems and to develop resistance to other infections. Till now there are four Coronaviruses already endemic in the human population. They are all seasonal and typically cause the mild common cold, though each can cause pneumonia. Covid-19 could become the fifth endemic virus in the Corona family.  However, experts and scientists suggest any hasty decision to lift the lockdown may create a disaster in case of the possible emergence of Covid-19 second wave but insights into the origins, trajectories, and features of common cold Coronaviruses can provide crucial clues about what to expect next and maybe in the age of genomic science, the greater understanding of Coronavirus family holds the key to protect us next time from any such pandemic. The world is waiting for antiviral drugs and vaccine and that is quite expected as it must give a big relief to many of us, as well as to the scientific community and the World leaders. But the precious lesson attained from the virus expressed through the words of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi which echoed our ancient wisdom – “सर्वं परवशं दुःखं सर्वमात्मवशं सुखम्। एतद् विद्यात् समासेन लक्षणं सुखदुःखयोः॥” sarvaṃ paravaśaṃ duḥkhaṃ sarvamātmavaśaṃ sukham etad vidyāt samāsena lakṣaṇaṃ sukhaduḥkhayoḥ (Everything that is in other’s control is painful. All that is in self-control is happiness). Narendra Modi mentioned about ‘AatmaNirbhar’ or Self-Reliant India. We can put it into the economic affair of a nation and in our daily lifestyle, not to battle but to coexist carefully with the viruses. Be the master of your mind. Apply your common senses. Make a smaller but stronger local economic unit and be global in thinking and business. 

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