The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has called on the world leaders to promote greater international cooperation that would guarantee proactive action to vaccinate the world against COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Penninah Lutung, Bureau Chief of AHF Africa, made the call on Thursday during the Pan African Virtual Panel Discussion hosted by the foundation.
Lutung said it was important to study and understand the mutation and evolution of COVID-19 as well as the consequent effect on vaccines.
According to him, AHF is transferring know-how learnt from the fight against HIV to the war against COVID-19, urging the world leader to leverage on it.
He stressed on the need for fast vaccination to avert spread of the new variants of COVID-19 that might not respond to the available vaccines.
“If the whole world is not vaccinated, Africa, along with all developing countries, runs the risk of becoming a breeding ground for new variants.
“The risk is ever-present that if vaccines are not administered fast enough, new variants of COVID-19 will emerge that will not respond to the vaccines available.
“World leaders must promote far greater international cooperation as the driving force for ending the pandemic, not continue with politics as usual,” Lutung said.
The discussion shared insights and messages on synergy of collaboration and a practical guideline of manageable steps the world leaders should be considering to vaccinate world citizens and stop COVID-19 spread.
It said that one of such insights centred around morals gained through the wavering of intellectual property around antiretrovirals therapy for HIV infection.
“Considering Technical Regulation Information System and transferring technological know-how will enable the better management of vaccines and reduce the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic considerably.
“During the (2013 – 2016) Western African Ebola virus epidemic, the genetic data gathered allowed a better response to the outbreak: An action that ultimately lead to establishment of the Africa Centre of Pandemic Disease.
“The war against COVID-19 can use research facilities already available in Africa to help with real-time action today.”
According to it, the restricted access of the developing world to vaccines left many unprotected and gave COVID-19 time to mutate beyond vaccine effectiveness.
The meeting said that in addition, vaccine-hoarding countries were asked to get their surplus vaccines to the developing world, while individuals and organisations were encouraged to pledge support to rid the world of COVID-19. (NAN)