Human beings are so intrinsically connected to our beliefs, faiths and instincts that despite thousands of years of science unravelling the world around us, there’s something that makes us trust the signs within us than the science around us.
Maybe the secret lies in evolution – for we evolved as a reaction to our surroundings, and during the very initial stages, we as the early men (and women) were continuously surrounded by uncertainties. At that time, in the absence of the know-how of empirical science, we were heavily dependent on our instincts and beliefs.
However, even as the human civilisation evolved to reap rich dividends from science and came to understand the world better, one would often hear how faith (more of the intrinsic kind) have guided thousands of objective minds — scientists, explorers, researchers, etc — to success. Many of them have admitted to have taken a leap of faith when at their wits’ end.
What connects us today with our forefathers is that amidst uncertainties we continue to rely on our instincts and take a leap of faith now and then. And despite having devoted my life to medical sciences and having a significant understanding of its complexities and nuances, I recently seemingly took a leap of faith in completing my COVID 19 vaccination.
Having dispelled several doubts and answered numerous queries of people in my family, friend, and personal circles, there have been several times I have gone up to vouch for the safety of the vaccines.
However, it is during those moments just before the injection of dosage that certain anxiety kicks in. I could relate to people I had interacted with, people who were with me awaiting their turn, and by way of imagination, to a larger population who perhaps do not have a keen understanding of how medical sciences work.
No medical solution is 100% perfect, and there are chances of off-cases. Just the thought of it kind of triggers a certain nervousness towards vaccinations. So are lakhs of people including me taking a leap of faith?
With a little contemplation, this is where I begin to differ. No, it is not merely a leap of faith. All over the world, there has been a gigantic, never-before-seen effort by the scientific community in literally designing the vaccines. The process has followed rigorous scientific investigation and evaluation, empirical and independent testing and trials, full disclosures on processes and outcomes and peer-reviews by the scientific community.
The vaccines rolled out today have undergone high levels of scrutiny, and while initiating a massive vaccination drive, the Government and healthcare ecosystem has taken tremendous measures in ensuring those being vaccinated are monitored and safe.
There is and always will be an element of chance. However, the tremendous scientific effort cannot be just discounted with “a leap of faith.” In continuing to take the scientific spirit forward, there is an urgent need to emphasize amongst the masses that our world is not as simplistic as a matter of faith, overarching protection, or a miracle cure.
The masses have to be made aware rapidly and effectively that the fight against COVID does not end with getting vaccinated. It is essential that we continue to follow COVID appropriate measures of physical distancing, wearing masks, and hygiene.
Post-vaccination, it is equally essential to get oneself tested for the development of antibodies to ascertain whether the dosage has really led to the successful generation of neutralising antibodies within the individual. There are numerous factors, including age, comorbidities, physiology, compromised immune system, etc., which can prevent the vaccine from having the desired effect.
It is on this matter I am happy to share that SRL Diagnostics has devised the SARS-COV-2 Spike Protein Antibody test. The particular test targets the spike protein component or the virulent part of the COVID virus to assess whether the vaccine candidate has developed neutralizing antibodies which can effectively counteract the virus.
The test does not intend to find out about previous exposures but aims to get a clearer understanding of the level of immunity, which cannot be ascertained by general antibody tests. By having insights about the immunity levels, people can take relevant measures of consulting their doctors and not letting their guards down. Furthermore, a person with good volumes of neutralizing antibodies can be a good plasma donor
The whole experience of taking a vaccination to test for antibodies is a great example of faith and science coming together. While we indeed should keep our faiths alive in trusting a solution, we also need to apply our alert senses, knowledge and intelligence, and scientific temperament before making the jump. After all, it is not merely a leap of faith.