Our role in the fight against COVID-19

 Dear students, colleagues, and accidental visitors of my page,

I get contacted by many asking what I am doing to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. I want to thank them for addressing a professor of virology in the faculty of VETERINARY medicine about solving a human pandemic. This could only mean that they understand the role that veterinary microbiologists have played in the past, and continue to play, to alleviate the impact of serious biological threats. It means that they understand the One Health concept.

It is indeed a great complement for any virologist when someone thinks that he/she can solve such an important problem. They are right to expect our input. However, they need to know that the efforts of veterinary virologists are far more reaching. Veterinary virologists help ensure the welfare of animals, the continuity of the food supply for humans, and support efforts to protect public health. So, in a way, we are doing our fair share of work to ensure the survival of humans. Please, do take some time to read about this particular aspect of our work on the internet.

Also, please, consider the following:

  1. Working with human pathogens that are classified as BSL-3 pathogens when propagative activities are involved requires: a] governmental clearances, b] an appropriate laboratory environment, and c] proper supplies.
  2. At the time of great national need, the limited resources that are available must be carefully allocated to research groups that have existing background knowledge of the topic, or that demonstrate competence by applying for funds with a research proposal characterized by a solid scientific approach and a clear vision to achievement.
  3. While attention is directed towards a global crisis like COVID-19, it is easy to lose track of other biological threats to the animal industry, human welfare, and public health.

We all have roles to play; the people that dispose of medical waste, the people that grow food, the people that make the supplies that keep our communities running, the security officials that keep our business and lives safe during these times, the veterinarians that help protect our food supply, the doctors and medical health professionals on the front lines, the teachers that keep doing their job from home, the scientists that work in their labs to bring solutions and medications, and everyone that does his job to the best of his abilities based on science and proper protocol. If one of us fails to do his job properly, the community will suffer.

We are all in this together. Do not underestimate your role. Do not underestimate the roles of others. If we are to pass this, we must pass it together. Stay safe, keep your people safe, keep the world safe.

Ausama Abdelraouf Abdelmoneim Yousif