Never On Time Or Always Late To The Party — Oh Africa
I recently read about “The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the African Union Commission” joining forces to boost African vaccine R&D and manufacturing.
My initial thoughts about this coming after nearly 15 months of Covid-19 being declared a pandemic, should not be conceived as misplaced. We evidently need to solve for “X”, as my maths teacher always said.
It was in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on April 13, 2021—CEPI and the African Union Commission, reportedly “announced” the signing of an memorandum of understanding, which aims “to strengthen ties between the organisations and the Africa CDC—a specialised institution of the African Union responsible for the prevention and control of diseases in Africa—to enhance vaccine R&D and manufacturing in Africa.”
The CEPI is an innovative partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil organisations, launched at Davos in 2017, to develop vaccines against future epidemics.
Prior to COVID-19 CEPI’s work focused on developing vaccines against Ebola virus, Lassa virus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, Nipah virus, Rift Valley Fever virus and Chikungunya virus – it has over 20 vaccine candidates against these pathogens in development.
Solving for “X”
CEPI has reportedly invested in new platform technologies for rapid vaccine development against unknown pathogens (which I call Disease X).
X can stand for anything including Ebola, Lassa Fever, River Blindness, Measles and Tuberculosis that claim more lives in Africa than this “Pandemic.”
In my recent article, Making a Case for SDG18 Eradicating Pandemics and Epidemics — following a careful review of the 17 SDGSs, I opined that “only 1 is focused on health i.e., SDG 3 Good Health and Well Being.”
I went on to assert, “This makes me wonder how unhealthy people can take care of the environment and climate change related matters.
Malaria is still baffling Africa alongside Tuberculosis, Cholera and Ebola – all immunisable ‘epidemics’ (not even pandemics — however defined) that preceded the technological advancements we enjoy today.”
For emphasis, I added:
“Believe it or not, Ebola is (not was) a pandemic only limited by its spread, and consequently relegated to the status of epidemic.”
I’m not quite sure whether the article by Tara Fernández, “Breakthrough Malaria Vaccine Is a Ray of Hope,” should be cause for celebration after many decades of the existence of the disease. Now another fire fight for Covid-19 vaccine is rearing its head.