Scientists urged to play role in fight against health disinformation campaigns

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ISLAMABAD: Science and Technology Minister Senator Shibli Faraz on Tuesday urged the Pakistan Academy of Sciences (PAS) and scientists in general to play their part in tackling disinformation campaigns related to public health and to global health security.

Speaking at a webinar “Pandemic Preparedness: Science and Countermeasures” hosted by the Pakistan Academy of Sciences (PAS), the minister said the abundance of unfiltered information makes it difficult for them. people identify true and reliable sources from false or misleading sources.

Pakistan faced different challenges compared to the developed world, because on the one hand we had to control the pandemic and on the other hand, we could not afford to shut down the country and leave people at the mercy of fate. .

In this situation, the government’s “smart lockdown” policy has worked successfully and has been appreciated internationally, he said.

Faraz appreciated different segments of society like religious leaders, academics and philanthropists for helping us deal with the situation.

He stressed that the design, development, manufacture and distribution of vaccines were among the most pressing issues in preparing for the global response to a pandemic.

The response to this pandemic has shown that when major vaccine manufacturers are fully engaged in a global response, it may be possible for them to manufacture substantial doses of vaccine on schedule faster than expected.

It is heartwarming that even Africa has plans to increase its vaccine production capacity from 1 percent to 60 percent by 2040, he said.

He assured that the Ministry of Science and Technology would welcome any such effort in the country.

“I am sure that through events like this we will learn a great deal about the policies, technologies and financing strategies used to have better diagnostic techniques and to produce Covid-19 vaccines.”

“These lessons will be essential in informing the global manufacture of emergency vaccines; diagnosis and therapeutic efforts in the future, ”he said.

Speaking on this occasion, the PAS President, Professor Khalid Mahmood Khan, appreciated the efforts of the Association of the Asian Academy of Sciences (AASSA) to support the group in the organization of the event. .

He said Pakistan, as a responsible nation, was doing everything possible to prevent the spread of this virus.

AASSA Professor Yoo Hang Kim reiterated his support for PAS for holding such an event and fighting the coronavirus and Pakistan is mentioned as an achievement in the world to reduce the lethal effect compared to its neighboring countries.

Professor Khairul Anuar bin Abdullah underlined the problems related to vaccines and their equitable access for all, including the least developed countries.

PAS Secretary General Professor Tasawar Hayat thanked all speakers and participants for their contributions and announced that the PAS will issue a special issue on the proceedings of the workshop and a policy document on how to respond to avoid such a pandemic in the future.

Speaking on the occasion, Professor Zabta Khan Shinwari said that what emerges will depend in part on the ongoing evolution of SARS-CoV-2, the behavior of citizens and the decisions of governments on how to respond to the pandemic.

It will also depend on advancements in vaccine development and treatments, as well as in a wider range of science and humanities disciplines that aim both to end this pandemic and to learn how to reduce the impacts of future ones. zoonoses, and with which the international community can unite in its efforts to control Covid-19.

Many factors will determine the overall outcome of the pandemic. A nationalist rather than global approach to vaccine administration is not only morally reprehensible, but will also delay any return to a level of ‘normalcy’ (including relaxed border controls) as no country can be safe as all. countries are not, he stressed.



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