Viruses do not eat or reproduce but they do mutate from an almost docile state to one of virulent and highly dangerous infection in their animal hosts . Epidemiologists still have much to learn concerning the threat of impending viral menace with its probable resistance to the present regime of treatment by vaccination.

Prevention of viral epidemics must go hand in hand with the combat of the causes for global warming and alteration to the climate caused by human malpractice. During the past year , we have discovered that the decentralisation of work , the curbing of unnecessary logistics and the conservation of energy resources can be beneficial to society. Governments must continue to stimulate this restructuring of the fabric of the way in which we have existed .

But the over-riding factor for reaching a practical solution is unquestionably the need for a global consensus on firstly the stabilisation of the world population and secondly its reduction by a process of disciplined birth control to levels of economic and social sustainability.

From 01 to 12 November the United Nations will hold a conference in Glasgow (COP26) which may well be the last chance for a concerted effort to bring together those dissenting nations which hold the key to a positive global policy which may reduce greenhouse emissions. Let us hope that the EU will persuade the USA and Britain to withdraw their recent recalcitrance in favour of our universal need for swift and determined action.

Roberto Knight,
Cavaleiro, Tomar.