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The overall spend likely to reach $25 trillion before it comes under control

S Srikanth

Bengaluru, NFAPost: World has spent $18 trillion on Covid-19 and the expenditure is likely to touch $25 trillion before the pandemic comes under control. This was disclosed by Dr Shahid Jameel, Director of Ashoka University at the Bangalore Tech Summit 2020 on Friday.

He said Covid tests in India costed about 10% of a person’s income on average whereas it was just about 3% in the US. With the rise in cases of Covid-19 patients, cost of testing also saw a decline. He said the cost of Covid test was higher than the cost of the vaccine.

Dr Jameel said there was no clarity as yet on whether all the citizens will be tested and vaccinated or just injected with the vaccine once the vaccines become available.

Socio-economic impact

He said while the pandemic has posed socio-economic and cultural problems the plague had devastated the empires two centuries back. The Spanish Flu had killed 50 million people of the one-third of the world’s population that was affected. Dr Jameel said the virus was a concept and not seen by the eye in 1920 as the microscopes came up in 1930 to study the viruses. 

Alluding to the presence of different health ministries in the Union government, he said there was a need to integrate all the health ministries and bring them under a new health ministry which could be called One Health.

In his presentation on Epidemology and One Health, Dr Ramanan Laxminarayan said climate change was driving greater adaptability to higher temperature among fungal pathogens. He said the outbreak of fungal infections was rising due to the rise in temperatures.

Consumption of antibiotics

Referring to the increased use of antibiotics, Dr Laxminarayan said higher consumption of antibiotics among humans result in obesity at an early age. He said the consumption of meat in India had proportionately increased with the rise in population over a 30-year period.

Referring to Covid-19 situation, he said the world is likely to see some population immunity in some pockets before the vaccines arrive. However, it remains to be seen how long will the immunity last. In an earlier presentation on investing for the BioEconomy, Dr P M Murali of Jananoom said the success of BioEconomy rests on infrastructure, artificial intelligence, data and regulation.

Shreehas Tambe, COO, Biocon Biologics explained the Biocon success story in raising capital in the market and its investment strategies for the future.

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