Nothing ‘common’ about common cold
One can hope for the best and pray that the worst fears of the experts don’t come true. Still the matter can hardly be taken lightly. Without sounding paranoid, one cannot help having the queasy feeling that man’s regrettable tendency to interfere with the laws of nature is now coming home to roost. Not all that long ago, the United Kingdom was seized with the foot and mouth disease among bovines (not to be confused with the ‘foot in mouth disease’ common among our liberal intellectuals). What with one thing or the other, humankind can hardly get away from pestilence, either natural or man-made. Nature, it would appear, is out to prove that man’s antics to outdo it are bound to boomerang.
It may be recalled that sometime earlier there was the scare of the possible large-scale outbreak of the deadly respiratory disease known as SARS. Mercifully, that news has gone off the front pages of late. The World Health Organization had, then, given out that their research had confirmed that SARS was indeed caused by the ‘corona virus’: one that also causes the common cold. Brings to mind the cold fact that - the strides made in the field of medicine notwithstanding - cure for the ‘common cold’ has yet to be discovered!
The reader will no doubt recall the hullabaloo at the completion of the ‘human genome’ - whatever that means in layman terms. In all seriousness, what does the whole thing signify in the most general terms? All it leads to is the truism that, try as he might, man is in no position to overtake nature. Nature will always remain a good step ahead! Not so far back, there was a news item prominently carried by the international media to the effect that the American Drug Agency had approved a ‘treatment’ for common cold “that would reduce the period of the ailment by two days”. After years of intensive research, the best the world’s experts could come up with was a drug not to cure the common cold but merely to curtail the period of the symptoms!
Giant strides are evident in the field of science and technology over the past few years. Medical science, likewise, has come a long way. Several ailments, once considered fatal, have been brought within the gambit of curable diseases. On the negative side, the outbreak of such deadly ailments as Aids, SARS and ‘swine flu’ and the re-emergence of some dreaded diseases that had long been written off as virtually extinct - like small pox, tuberculosis and even malaria represents a cause for serious concern.
What with the re-emergence of some old deadly diseases coupled with the appearance of new varieties, serious challenge is being posed to humankind. Man would be well advised to re-order his priorities in order to be able to cope. In particular, he would do well to depend on the bounties of nature. Among other things, attempts to influence nature through the use of artificial means, like strong pesticides and ‘cultured’ seeds, need to be eschewed. Unless this is done, the future does not look to be overly bright. Meanwhile, let it be said that there is nothing ‘common’ about the common cold!