The Gene Podcast Channel: “Meaningfluenza”

The Gene Podcast Channel is presented to you by Orange Electronics, connecting lives together. Good morning everyone! This is Nina from New Jersey. Today we are going to talk about a disease that has been on the news for past few months. This disease is called “meaningfluenza” and according to CDC, Centers for Disease Control, this is a viral infection that seems to have emerged from the southern part of India in late 1900’s and was first discovered in New Delhi on January 19th, 2002, which was a just year ago from today, just after CDC opened its headquarters in India. This viral infection is believed to be on the verge of spreading to other parts of the world, including United States. In the span of one year, already, one hundred and fifty cases of this disease have been found in the US, thirty of which were found in New Jersey. The CDC assumes that there are more cases that still remain unreported. Today we have Dr. Sharma from the CDC headquarters in New Delhi, with us on our channel to talk more about this viral infection.

Nina: Good morning, Dr. Sharma. Thanks for joining us. How are you today?

Doctor: Hello, I am well. Thank you for having me.

Nina: Dr. Sharma, would you like to elaborate more upon this disease?

Doctor: Sure, so “meaningfluenza” is a deadly  viral infection in which a virus attaches to your DNA and makes your skin peel off in later stages of your life. It’s really dangerous because the only symptom in its early stage is a common cold and during that time when you sneeze, you actually spread the disease unknowingly. This disease is more prevalent amongst people from South Asian descent, and already thousands of people have died from this disease because no one had ever thought a common cold would actually be a sign for such an infection. We are still trying to reach out to as many people as possible right now.

Nina: What do you think we can do prevent ourselves from attracting this virus?

Doctor: For now, the only preventative measure is wearing masks over your mouth. We are looking for new measures, but another prevention for the people who already contain the virus is actually contraception.

Nina: And what’s the biggest challenge with the disease right now?

Doctor: The biggest challenge is not having enough funding to reach out to people in rural areas, and not being able to research more on the disease due to less facilities.

Nina: Dr. Sharma, so why do you think this disease has just been discovered when it was actually present during the 1900’s, was it due to the same challenges?

Doctor: I think the reason behind this sudden discovery of such a prevalent disease is due to the CDC headquarters that opened up in India in 2000. Um, since the medical facilities in India did not have the ability to have new research labs to find the cause behind this disease, people believed that this illness was like any other flu. There are still people in rural areas and suburban parts of India, where we don’t have access right now and that contain this virus. As I mentioned, our biggest issue right now is the receiving enough funding to reach out to as many people as possible. For now, due to CDC, we only have the major cities like Delhi, and Mumbai, covered but again, our root of the cause comes from the rural areas of India where people are more prone to contracting this disease, carrying the virus, and passing on the virus to the next generation.

Nina: so how do you think this is spreading to countries like the United States?

Doctor: So we found that the families that contained the disease had moved from a rural part of India to the city, like New Delhi, and then to the United States, which seems to be the reason why it began spreading to the US.

Nina: hmm, thank you for joining us Doctor. Um, wne will take a quick break here and then talk more about how we can prevent this infection. It seems that “meaningfluenza” is a disease that emerged in India but due to lack of funding and resources, the disease began to spread even more, and to more countries, like United States. I think if the CDC expands its target to more rural areas in India, we’ll actually be able to prevent this spread.

Thank you for staying tuned and we will be right back.

Niranjana Bienkowska is a freshman at Princeton University and is planning on majoring in the Life Sciences. She moved from India to the United States at the age of fifteen, after having seen many of cases of people not having access to healthcare due to poverty. This podcast represents a fictional disease that emerged in India and was unable to be controlled due to the lack of resources.

Photo Credit: Photo by Christine Roy on Unsplash

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