Taiwan’s three-stage alert micro-unblocked Virologist supports balance between livelihood and epidemic prevention

Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center has announced that Taiwan’s Level 3 alert will be extended until July 26, but since the 13th “micro-unsealing”, moderate opening of restaurants and outdoor scenic play areas. In an interview with the Voice of America, Academician Lai Ming-zhao of Academia Sinica, who is the “father of coronavirus in Taiwan”, said he supported the decision of the command center to “micro-unblock” the situation. It is impractical.

Taiwan has 23 new local cases of new crown pneumonia and one death on July 12, with a total of 14,017 local cases. Taiwan has been on Alert 3 since May 19 and has been extended three times. The command center announced on July 8 that Alert 3 will be extended again from July 12 to July 26, but the epidemic prevention measures can be loosened slightly.

Moderately loosened venues include national parks, scenic areas and other outdoor attractions, indoor art museums, cinemas, performance venues and other places that are conditionally open. Restaurants, traditional markets and night markets, food streets, etc. can be restored for internal use, but with crowd control and maintaining social distance. tours for international travelers under 9 people are also allowed.

In an interview with the Voice of America, Academician Lai Ming-zhao of the Academia Sinica said, “Of course it will increase the risk of infection, but I think a balance must be struck between the impact on people’s livelihood and contagiousness, and I am in favor of opening up, as it should be. You can’t wait until there is zero confirmed diagnosis to open up, I think that’s unrealistic.”

Taiwan’s excessive pursuit of zero confirmed diagnosis name

Lai Ming-zhao said that Taiwan used to be in pursuit of the zero-confirmed diagnosis name, rather than being willing to face up to the fact that Taiwan actually had asymptomatic infections of latent transmitters as early as July and August of last year. He pointed out that the School of Public Health of National Taiwan University was conducting a “10,000 people serum antibody testing program” in the Changhua area and found that 8 out of 10,000 people were carrying the virus, but the government suppressed it, believing that no permission was granted to conduct the survey, and finally had to abandon the study and could not be published, which was a great pity.

In fact, it was known at the time that there were some asymptomatic infected people in the community, and Changhua is still considered a relatively remote place, if in the metropolitan area, the positive rate may be higher. But then there was no way to continue to do epidemiological surveys to see the distribution of these people in specific groups, such as migrant workers or caregivers, and so on, so missed the opportunity for early prevention. Last month’s outbreak of infection in the migrant worker cluster in Miaoli only made people realize that migrant workers are an important part of epidemic prevention that has been overlooked.

The company’s main goal is to provide the best possible service to its customers. Because zero confirmed diagnosis sacrifices our very good, very important epidemiological research.”

In a year and a half, COVID-19 has evolved from the earliest Wuhan strain to four major variants, Alpha (British variant virus), Beta (South African variant virus), Gamma (Brazilian variant virus), and Delta (Indian variant virus). If the transmission rate of Wuhan virus is 1 person to 3 people, Alpha is 1 person to 4 people, then Delta is 1 person to 6 people.

The reason why the new coronavirus mutates so quickly is that it is a coronavirus with the longest RNA in nature, and therefore the frequency of errors in the process of genetic replication is high, and an error is a mutation. Usually only a small number of mutant viruses that are more powerful than the parent species can survive, and most of the variants are worse than the parent species in terms of replication ability, so they will disappear.

The raging Delta variant has spread to more than 100 countries, and according to a July 6 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the highly infectious Delta variant accounts for 51.7 percent of genetically sequenced cases across the United States and has become the dominant strain in the U.S. outbreak. Two weeks ago, on June 19, Delta accounted for only about 30% of the cases in the U.S., which shows how quickly it is spreading.

In Taiwan, the first Delta cluster infection was reported in Pingtung at the end of June, and by July 11, there were 17 Delta cases, all in Pingtung.

The amount of virus in the body has nothing to do with the symptoms

Mingzhao Lai explained that the variant virus is like a master key that can open the lock of the cell at will, allowing the new coronavirus to enter the infected cells and cause disease. Although the current detection method is based on nucleic acid testing PCR, but there are many people are in several negative cases before the test is positive, this is because the amount of new coronavirus in the human body, and the symptoms are not related, and the amount of virus changes a lot, sometimes the virus is very small, can not be found, but in some cases, the amount of virus has increased significantly, but what causes the increase in the amount of virus, but the scientists do not know. Scientists currently do not know what causes the increase in the amount of virus, which also greatly increases the difficulties in the prevention of the epidemic.

He said: “If the amount of the virus is not related to the symptoms, in fact, it is difficult to judge, isolation can not be isolated, so how to block Delta to Taiwan, I am quite pessimistic, there is no way to completely block. The world already 90 several countries (at the end of June) have Delta virus, so want to be able to block, I think it is quite difficult.”

Lai Ming-zhao said that Delta has the strongest transmission rate, not only is it likely to become the mainstream virus of the new crown epidemic, but it may also have to live with humans forever, just like influenza, which will come back every year, and a new vaccine may be required every year or every two years in the future.

As Taiwan’s epidemic alert level 3 is “slightly unsealed”, people are also worried about the possibility of a new wave of Delta epidemic, Lai Mingzhao believes that the government must strengthen education of the public to maintain good hygiene habits, continue to wash hands and wear masks, and to let people understand that the risk of infection is still there and prevention of the epidemic cannot be slackened. When doing the epidemic survey, we should also increase the scope to define the close contacts, for example, once it was to survey the people who ate at the same table, now it is to survey the whole restaurant, once it was to survey the family members who live together, now it is to survey the whole community, try to do a good job in the epidemic survey, catch the infected people, and not to let the fish to infect others.

The war between people and the virus is divided into three stages

Lai Mingzhao said the war between the virus and people is divided into three stages, the first stage is isolation, the second stage is the vaccine, increasing the body’s immunity, and the third stage is the drug, using drugs to directly attack the virus. Trying to keep Delta out of the gateway has limited effect, and ultimately it’s the vaccine and drugs.

He said that Taiwan’s trouble is because the first stage of isolation was done too well, so the vaccine was not prepared. But the vaccine is shaped like a defense industry, and Taiwan must actively research and develop it because it has fallen behind in the first generation of vaccines and must do more with the second and third generations. Although the vaccines currently on the market are designed based on the original Wuhan virus strain, which is no longer the same as the Delta virus strain that is now popular, they still have some protective effect. Of course, if a new crown drug can be developed, there will be a better attack weapon to fight the virus. The current approach of scientists is to go from existing drugs to find new uses for old drugs, which is less time-consuming.

New coronavirus is likely to be a laboratory virus

As for the source of the new crown virus, Lai Mingzhao believes it is possible to come from the Wuhan laboratory. He said, like SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) from bats to run to the civet, and then run to the human body, so from the market and vendors selling wild animals can be found on this virus, and some people have produced antibodies as a result.

However, the new coronavirus is not quite the same. The scientists do not know how the virus ran from the bats to the human body, said Mingzhao Lai, and it is reasonable to say that the middle should pass through another animal, but in the end what animal is not known, scientists can not find, which is a missing link (missing link ). This means that the virus does not seem to be a direct human-animal contact.

The other suspicion is that the virus has a gene that is not in the bat genes, so this gene is from somewhere, and its genetic nature is like the (artificial) genes that scientists often use, not the genes of animals in the wild, which makes people wonder if it is made by scientists.”

However, he believes that scientists are not intentionally trying to create viruses so toxic to harm people, but only in the process of research, want to study the cause of the virus, the amount of toxicity and pathogenic mechanism, thus creating the virus, the virus somehow got out and infected humans.

Lai Mingzhao said, these traces make people suspect that the new crown virus may be manufactured by scientists, but now the United Nations has done a lot of investigation also found no results, because China must cooperate to make all the information public, so now there is still no solution.