5G and Coronavirus conspiracy theory is topical and I don’t think it is dying down anytime soon. But whether we choose to believe it or not, Coronavirus is real and it is devastating the world socially and economically. Like previous viruses, the vaccine will be discovered some day and administered to people in Africa, Europe, Asia and other continents. It does not matter the order as long as it is certified, portent and saves life. But for some few countries, public vaccination is non-mandatory; so, participating in the inoculation will be voluntary. No one will be forced to take it as peddled around by some theorists.
I do not pray that anyone gets sick, but if you have ever been very sick, you would have realised, at some point, that the only thing that bothered you was regaining your health. How you get treated, which medication was used, be it tablets, injections, vaccine and so forth is of little importance. Some believe they do not even need medications; their faith is sufficient to heal them. All they need to do is to Pray Until Something Happens (PUSH). Good! “Health is not everything, but without health, everything is nothing.” I don’t know the author of this quotation, but I always see it at the doorpost of my bank’s clinic.
There are few questions begging for answers especially at this moment in our country. First, what is a virus? What is a vaccine? Why do we need vaccines made overseas? Finally, what is the relationship between virus and 5G? This last question is the most daring. I will try to provide answers to the best of my knowledge.
What is a virus?
Virus is a very small micro organism measuring one billionth metre. This means dividing one metre into one billion times. Very small indeed, but that is not the real gist. It is neither a living nor a non-living thing. It does not have most characteristics of living things like nutrition, respiration et-cetra, but does have reproduction, a devastating feature. It is simply a protein strand with a code called RNA (Ribonucleic Acid). Reproduction is by injecting its RNA into the cell of the host. Once inside, the RNA tricks the cell into producing new copies of the virus. The new viruses will then burst open the cell, killing it and moving to attack other cells. The process is repeated indefinitely, if not stopped, until the host is overwhelmed and dies.
Fortunately, our maker is also the maker of these organisms; so, from the onset, we were designed with an internal defence mechanism called immune system. The primary function of this system is to protect us from invasion by foreign bodies like viruses and bacteria. The mechanism of its action it too complex to discuss here. But in a very simple explanation, it engulfs the foreign body, kills it, and removes it from the body.
One will be tempted to ask why then does virus kill the host even with this defence system. The explanation is thus. The defence system only acts based on immediate threat or if it knows beforehand the nature of the enemy. There will be no need deploying troops to Cross-Rivers, Adamawa and other frontier states in the east unless we are at war with Cameroon. But what if we are at war with Cameroon (our immune system is always at war with one foreign body or the other) and most of our troops are in the eastern states; and suddenly, Benin Republic attacks us. It will take some time to redeploy soldiers to the western states to mount a defence. From how the immune system works, if we have not been attacked before by these soldiers, then we must create a new army for the battle, leading to further delays.
If we are punctual or we could quickly recruit new soldiers; perhaps, they might have taken over Lagos, Kebbi, Sokoto before we arrive, attack, and push them back. But if we delayed (there are several reasons for this), they may take over Kwara, all the western states, the whole north west and heading to Abuja. At this point, we are very symptomatic. But, we can still mount a strong defence, with some external help (medications), defeat and clear them from our territory.
Chances are that even with external help, they may still defeat and occupy our territory (this means death of the host). Without external help (no curative medications) to slow them down, we could be much vulnerable and the outcome may be a blitzkrieg.
But what if we had prior knowledge of this attack? Some of their soldiers had made incursions into our territory and had engaged in a skirmish with ours (minor exposure). In this case, we will be much prepared to fend off their attack. There is every likelihood we would defeat them or at least mount a stronger defence. That brings me to the second question. What is a vaccine?
What is a Vaccine?
Vaccination is a medical process of preparing the body to mount strong defence against known infectious disease. This is achieved by introducing a substance known as vaccine into the body to mimic actual infection and let the body develop antibodies (disease fighting protein) for such disease in readiness for future and real attack.
The easiest way to make a vaccine is by attenuating some disease-causing organisms and introducing them into the body. Once inside the body, our immune system will respond to the threat by developing antibodies. Because the organisms are weak, they won't be able to cause the disease. It's like fighting a war with soldiers who do not have ammunition or with non-functional weapons. But on the process, we would have known some features of these soldiers; their uniform, formation, tactical and strategic manoeuvres. With this knowledge, we would be much ready to deal with the real enemies when they strike.
The beautiful thing about our immune system is that once they are formed, they remain undispersed even when there is no immediate threat for a very long time. For this reason, if an individual is vaccinated or survived a viral attack, such individual will be immune from that disease for years and sometime for life.
There are several types of vaccines depending on how they were made and the disease they intend to fight. Other classification can also be based on the stage at which an individual was inoculated. Most vaccines are prophylaxis (preventive), but some are therapeutic (curative). More information about vaccines can be found on this site - (https://www.vaccines.gov/basics/types). All vaccines are administered through a process known as immunization or inoculation. The two words are used interchangeably.
Viral diseases are very dangerous. They are the major cause of pandemic deaths in human history. AIDS caused by HIV is a good example. Some viral diseases had no cure, but were eliminated through vaccination; example is small pox. Small pox is one of the deadliest disease in history. It was estimated to have killed over 500 million people in 100 year of its existence (www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smallpox). It almost eliminated the Red Indians - the aborigines of North America especially United states. This disease was introduced into the continent by European migrants and since the Red Indians did not have the immunity, it dealt a deadly blow on them. The vaccine was accidentally found in 1796 by Edward Janner.
Several viral diseases like measles, polio, chicken pox have been eliminated through vaccination except in few countries like Nigeria. The next question is why do we need vaccines made overseas?
Why we need vaccines made overseas.
The answer is that simple. The same reason why we drive cars made overseas, wear clothes made overseas, use consumables made overseas including pencils and toothpicks. Isn’t that pathetic? Well, I won’t go deep into this, it will be a discussion for another day. But as long as you are a signatory to World Trade Organisation, which Nigeria is, you must abide by the treaty that guides members. It frowns at protectionism. If you are exporting, then you should also allow imports too.
But what happened to African medicine? A lot has been said about the dearth of our local technology, which includes medicine. However, our sheer predilection for exotic goods has not helped matters. The world is a closed system; every health problem has a solution here. There is no disease in existent that cannot be treated with local herbs. It is either that we do not know them, or perhaps those that knew them, due to ineffectual delegation, died with the knowledge. Lack of proper documentation encumbered the development of African medicine.
To cut the story short; like most other items, we cannot sufficiently produce vaccines at the moment. We have to rely on importation to close the gap. That does not mean we do not have the knowledge. What we lack is the will and the political wherewithal. God willing, we will achieve self-sufficiency in the future.
The nexus between Virus and 5G.
So, what is the relationship between Coronavirus and 5G. The simple answer is none. While the former is a disease, as I explained earlier, the later is a technology. I will concentrate on 5G technology and break it down to the basics.
Telecommunication is the use of electromagnetic waves to transmit signals (information and carrier) from one point to another. A wave is defined as “a disturbance that transmits energy from one point to another without permanent displacement of the medium itself”. Science students are familiar with this definition.
We have two types of waves, transverse and longitudinal waves. The difference between the two is in the way they are propagated. The former propagates with or without a medium, while the later strictly requires a medium for propagation. Example of longitudinal wave is sound wave. All electromagnetic waves are transverse waves. Example is light from the Sun, heat that is used for cooking and X-rays used for medical diagnoses.
Electromagnetic waves are generated through the interaction of electricity and magnetic fields. The Sun is a good example of electromagnetic wave generator. In fact, the Sun generates all types of waves like light, heat and sound. Light and heat get to us on earth, but sound does not. The simple reason being that as longitudinal wave, sound wave needs a medium for propagation. And since there is a vacuum called space between the Sun and the Earth, sound wave could not reach the Earth. How lucky we are. If sound wave from the Sun is to get here, I doubt if there will be life on earth as thunder would sound like a whisper. Our maker is such a wonderful creator.
There are several variations of electromagnetic waves called a spectrum. The distinguishing factor is the wavelength, which determines the frequency, since all electromagnetic waves travel at the same speed known as the speed of light - approximately 300 million metres per second.
Light to a lay-man is the visible light in the spectrum of red to violet and within the frequency band of (400 and 790 THz). Conversely, light waves began before and continued after the visible spectrum. Before red is called infra-red waves, while after violet is called ultra-violet waves. Infra and ultra are Latin words meaning below and beyond respectively. The waves used for telecommunication are below the visible light spectrum. In Nigeria, the frequency range for commercial use is from 450MHz to 26GHz (https://www.ncc.gov.ng/techno…/spectrum/frequency-allocation). Far below the infra-red light.
In contrast, 5G means fifth generation. It is the latest telecommunication technology that is used to transmit voice and multimedia (data) from a transmitter (mast) to a receiver (e.g. mobile phones) at a very high speed. 5G “frequencies are above 24 GHz, reaching up to 72 GHz, …. The reach is short, so more cells are required. Millimeter waves have difficulty traversing many walls and windows, so indoor coverage is limited.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5G).
If we have 5G then it means that we had other Gs. Before the introduction of 5G, the technology that has been used all over the world was 1G to 4G (fourth generation). Like every other technology, there is always rooms for improvement. Be it automobile, aviation, medicine et-cetra.
Since radio wave frequencies are in the lower band, the wavelengths are longer and the impact at a high speed is harder, raising concern for health implications. The health implication of 5G is a valid concern. I subscribe to evaluating the overall health implications of this new technology. The regulators should ensure that proper risk assessment is done before deployment.
However, like every wave, electromagnetic waves are strongest at the point of generation and gradually attenuates farther away from it. Nobody can get closer to the Sun without being charred by its waves, but we can be 150 million kilometres away and enjoy the heat and light it produces. Likewise, getting closer to a loudspeaker can jar your ear, but melodious from afar. To this end, we can get the dangerous dose of 5G radiation if we strap ourselves on top of the mast that holds the antenna.
My conclusion is that we are not exposed to additional risks beyond what currently exist with previous technologies, 1G to 4G. I stand to be corrected. Don’t just believe what you heard or circulated in social media. Do some research on your own and validate all information you received before sharing. Google is our friend.
I will die one day. What will kill me I don't know, but definitely not 5G.