Current Coronavirus Situation Is a Planetary Information Pandemic
The coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic has affected everyone's lives. Some people directly, others indirectly, but still it has made its adjustments. People respond to the current situation differently — some complain, others take care of their health, procure buckwheat, and there are those looking for methods of control and protection. Alexey Vadatursky, the founder and CEO of NIBULON company, is among the people who have taken care of the country and compatriots. His Facebook post is given below.
I remember how in the 90s one agrarian asked me, a newcomer in agribusiness, who I was by profession. Responding to my "an automation engineer" he said in an informed manner that there was no point in talking to me... It's been almost thirty years, and I've built a successful agricultural company. The key to success is simple: I had the strength to overcome various complications making me stronger, helping me to survive, and thus achieved self-realization.
This is why today I, a well-known agribusinessman, am sharing my views on the coronavirus. But first, since I am an agrarian, I want to apologize to all virologists for my statements.
It is my strong conviction that the current situation with the coronavirus is first and foremost a planetary information pandemic. Generally speaking, the brain being under the pressure of negativity, aggravates the stress state in the organism, and then whatever is already weak in the body, becomes even more vulnerable to any infection. This situation plays in the hands of the pharmaceutical tycoons, whereas the economy and each of us lose.
I shall focus on five essential aspects.
We need to stop escalating the situation and cease panic. In the situation we have found ourselves today, I support the following measures. Adhere to the basic rules of conduct: try to minimize social contacts, stay at home (here you will be in an environment to which your body has already adapted), monitor your health, promote body and brain hygiene. If everybody complied with elementary rules, and the media did not escalate the situation, we would live a practically unchanged life, and the infection would be perceived as flu, which, and you would agree with me here, has long been natural for us.
Analyze the information well to understand exactly what problems are there and how to solve them. I have started analyzing the situation well before today: I talked to the chief physicians of the city and region, learned more about the actual state of health care. I had to decide for myself what I could actually do to reduce the impact of this disease on people. All the doctors told me in one voice that artificial lungs ventilation (ALV) machines are needed. Not waiting for late appeals from the administration, the President and other officials, I found and concluded contracts for the purchase of 15 such machines. In this situation, it is not about promoting myself, but about working smoothly in this direction to really help local medicine, so I have not informed about it.
I didn't stop there and moved on. Today, to confirm the virus in the human body, one needs to take a test which will be sent to Kyiv, and then wait for the result in 7-10 days. And that's in the normal situation. When the disease peaks, one will have to wait up to 15 days. I suppose there is no need to talk about the consequences.
And then I, an agrarian, thought about the modern devices the company uses to determine the presence of genetically modified organisms in agricultural products, foodstuffs, etc. So I asked our chemical engineers to study the possibility of determining the presence of coronavirus in human blood. And it turned out that with one of our devices, CFX96 Touch Real-Time PCR Detection System, manufactured in 2017 in the USA, coronavirus can be detected with the application of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method (A method widely used in molecular biology to rapidly make millions to billions of copies of a specific DNA sample allowing scientists to take a very small sample of DNA and amplify it to a large enough amount to study in detail.).
The PCR method is the world's most accurate method for detection of genomic RNA of viruses as it analyzes the specific gene SARS-CoV-2 with a great detection accuracy of 5 target sequences. To do this, we only needed to purchase chemical reagents for RNA/DNAVirus extraction and kits for the direct qualitative detection of new coronavirus RNA. We immediately ordered 200 samples in Germany. This exact quantity was requested because we did not know the real need and the specialists were not enthusiastic.
We are ready to buy more chemical agents if our initiative is accepted and supported. And we will set an example of action for other regions.
Moreover, it turned out that there is no such equipment in either urban or regional medical institutions. What is more, those systems which are being procured now are less accurate than ours. Perhaps, we are quite a powerful agricultural company, since we have much more productive equipment than specialized medical institutions. But let me tell you a secret: in Mykolaiv, in other non-medical institutions, there are such devices (at least three). And if we talk about Ukraine as a whole, there are up to a hundred of them.
With this device, 40-48 samples of biomaterials can be analyzed simultaneously for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. We estimate that up to 400 samples can be tested per day. And if all the three are used... The price of one such test is €25. Should it be mentioned how much faster the process of virus infection detection will be? Will this very approach really help in controlling its spread?
But there's more to it. Having realized that we can really help to solve the issue of timely virus testing in Mykolaiv and the region, our specialists immediately started looking for a hospital, which we are ready to deliver such a machine and chemical agents for them to use until the situation with this disease is solved. And then it began: there is no relevant certificate in the hospital, there are no specialists, and there is just no desire to change anything. I said that our specialists would bring that equipment, help to install, configure and conduct such tests together with the medical staff so that the latter could get the appropriate skills to work with the equipment. But must be done with no delays: no endless tenders, no setbacks and no opportunity for making hay.
But most importantly, doctors will be able to take control of the pandemic by performing proactive: test people, identify and localize the problem, treat those who need it, rather than shutting everyone down and waiting idly. That is to act in the way the world's leading countries do, demonstrating that it does work.
Fortunately, we have already decided on the medical institution ready to receive such equipment, and I am sure that we will be able to break this encrusted bureaucratic machine.
The authorities need to build a clear chain of command and act in an organized, centralized manner. Information about what is needed by hospitals will also be handy in this situation, a kind of register of what is available, what is required now, and what can be purchased let's say next year. I have already faced a situation when, having offered my financial assistance to resolve the coronavirus situation, I am asked by doctors to purchase equipment that they will need in a year or two...
I am ready to allocate significant funds for the development of this sphere in the future, as I have always done. After all, there are 7000 employees in the company, and there are citizens of Ukraine. Their health matters. But none should take advantage of this situation and profit from it...
With the list of equipment required, such centralized management would help, for example, to negotiate at the country level with other states for its supply at affordable prices. This is not the way it is now: everyone searches for it on their own, then negotiates a price, etc. This, in turn, increases demand and price.
Under this approach, we would not read the news about necessary protective materials for our doctors being exported from Ukraine. And then we do not know where to find them and how to import them into the country at reasonable prices.
To make it clear to everyone, I am strongly opposed to foundations. I'm not saying that they all conduct in the same manner, but my tremendous experience in philanthropy in Ukraine has taught me not to deal with them. In most cases money is used for nothing, none can guarantee that the equipment will be purchased and delivered to its destination. I am convinced that my employees should know what the CEO spends the company's money on and what use they can make of this assistance. Therefore, I warn officials against such appeals. I provide aid exclusively in a targeted, direct manner.
None can help us but ourselves, alas. As an entrepreneur, I understand that the state will help me with nothing. I need to sow, produce and store grain to ensure that there is bread in Ukraine (life after the pandemic goes on). I need to build ships and develop transportation on the Dnipro River.
This situation has made adjustments in the operation of our branches:
- a part of the staff is transferred to a shift work schedule, which allows reducing the concentration of people and in the case of illness of one to be able to find a replacement;
- some people work from home;
- others, who wanted so, have taken leave of absence;
- all enterprises, each workplace is cleaned up and all necessary measures are taken to prevent the spread of the 2019-nCoV coronavirus infection.
I understand perfectly and with all seriousness that human health is above all. And that's why I, as a company manager, can't afford to say to my employees: "I'm sorry, but you won't get your salary for the quarantine period". I am not saying that quarantine should not be introduced, but the government must give clear and comprehensible signals to business and protect it, to defend, first of all, ordinary Ukrainians — the employees of this business. It turns out that in peaceful times the business is suppressed, and in critical situations, it is used merely as a source of funds and reminded of social responsibility. And after the crisis, the business is forgotten again. We regenerate not with the support of the state but in spite of its attitude to business.
What matters most
We will definitely survive this crisis, too. The main thing is that there is no crisis in our heads. We will become even stronger and have even more accomplishments. I have heard many times in my life: "You are not a shipbuilder — do not build ships" or "You are not a sailor — do not create a shipping company". But despite the scepticism, as an agrarian, shipbuilder and industrialist, I built, created and achieved success. I helped then, I help now and I will help our country, us in the future. Today I want to give thanks to my employees for supporting me in such a difficult time. Everything will be fine. Health and peace to us all.