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Covid-19: Did Avicenna predict the pandemic ten centuries ago?

As astonishing as it may seem, the philosopher-doctor, who died more than 1,000 years ago, had provided precise instructions on the actions to be adopted on a daily basis to minimize the risk of contamination with infectious diseases.

The current health crisis has reached a critical phase and is included in the WHO list of international epidemics. The Covid-19 pandemic can easily be compared to the plagues that have marked the history of mankind.

In a scene from a biographical film made by the Soviet Union in 1956, where a discussion takes place between Avicenna and a number of his relatives. The doctor provides instructions on what to do in the presence of a person with an infectious disease.
Among his advice, Ibn Sina recommends quarantine, the need to avoid gatherings since the disease spreads through close contact and is transmitted by postilions (sneezing, coughing …).

Avicenna recommended, at the time, the temporary closure of mosques, markets and the daily adoption of a series of simple actions, such as disinfecting coins, cleaning hands …

These precautionary measures are therefore not new, the daily notes. In addition to presenting several points of similarity with the advice given at the time for the black plague (name attributed by Avicenna to the medieval plague pandemic), the measures adopted in 2020 very largely confirm Avicenna’s self-fulfilling prophecy, to which some observers attribute to the revelation of the modus operandi of infectious diseases.

The philosopher-doctor, who died more than 1,000 years ago, provides instructions to people who have contracted the disease. Starting with confinement for a period of no less than 40 days, to curb the transmission of the infection. Hence the notion of quarantine. For the record, his method was adopted in the 14th century by the Italians who isolated travelers in islands near the Italian coast to ensure that travelers were not carriers of symptoms, before granting them the right access, at a time when the Black Death loomed over the old continent. The pandemic was the cause of the disappearance of nearly 30% of the European population.

The newspaper recalls that Ibn Sina was a doctor, philosopher and writer nicknamed “prince of scholars” by his disciples. In his main work, “The Canon of Medicine” or Qanun, Avicenna brings together the medical knowledge of his time by bringing his own observations. Translated into Latin and Hebrew, his encyclopedic work is a great success and will influence the practice and teaching of Western medicine several centuries after his death.

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