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Thank God for ingenious coronavirus vaccine - we must now deal with political challenge

03 Dec 2020 at 17:57hrs | Views
It was just over a year ago, November 2019, that the world learned of the coronavirus outbreak in China. By March 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the outbreak a world pandemic.

Coronavirus has spread round the globe like wildfire. As of the end of November 2020, a year since the first cases in China, there were 13.9 million confirmed cases and 273 000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University report. The true figure is much, much high; many countries, especially in Africa, have not hardly followed the WHO test, trace and track protocol.

As of yesterday, 2 nd December 2020, Great Britain approved the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. A 21 gun salute to all those involved in this milestone achievement.

Judging from the time it took to develop the Ebola virus vaccine, the corona virus vaccine was developed in record time.

The first Ebola virus outbreak was in 2011 with the most serious outbreak two and half years latter in March 2014. There were over 28 000 reported cases and over 11 000 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Europe approved the M&A Johnson & Johnson Ebola vaccine in November 2019; eight years after the first Ebola virus case.

The Pfizer/BioNtech corona virus vaccine was not only developed in record time, it is a novel vaccine too.

The corona virus virion is tiny, 0.1 micron in diameter. A really sharp razor blade is 0.3 micron wide; wide enough for three corona virus to march three abreast like Roman Soldiers down a highway.

What the Pfizer/BioNTech scientist have done is cut open this 0.1 micron sphere, find its DNA, snip off the genetic code instructing the virus to grow its characteristic porcupine quills, the corona virus spike protein.

The Pfizer vaccine delivers the snipped off genetic code into the human body which then instruct the human cells to grow the characteristic spike protein. The body's own defence system recognised the porcupine cells as invaders and produce white cells and T-cell to destroy the invaders.

The next time the body is invaded by the corona virus the body will remember the characteristic spike protein and produce the appropriate white and T-cells to attack the virus.

The summit of science!

If it is not tempting providence, it is fair to say the accelerating advances in technology has left mankind wiser and better prepared than ever before at whatever nature throws at us! At least those nation who have embraced technology!

As far as corona virus was concerned, Zimbabwe was a sitting duck! The outbreak occurred at a time when the country's economy was in total meltdown and its health care services all but in total collapse. Zimbabwe did not have the money to buy the PPE to issue to frontline workers, to buy the tests kits to keep track of the virus, the hospital equipment and staff to deal with the corona virus cases.

The little PPE, tests kits, etc. Zimbabwe received throughout this period was donated. Now that the vaccine is available, the country will be adding it to its long begging list; we have begged for everything!

Zimbabwe was not even is a position carry out even the most basic corona virus prevention measures like washing one's hands regularly because most Zimbabweans have no access to clean running water. It has become normal for households in urban centres and even big institutions like schools and hospitals to have no clean running water for weeks and even months at a time!

Back in 1980, when the country attained her independence, Parerenyatwa Hospital was one of the top ten hospitals in Africa, well equipment and staffed. Even before the corona virus outbreak, there were reports of doctors cancelling even the most basic surgical operations because there were no painkillers. The hospital was having to wash bandages and no water to wash them with.

Who can forget how head of the paediatric unit Azza Mashumba wept openly describing the state of affairs at public hospitals.

"I come to work to certify dead babies!" wept Dr Azza Mashumba, head of the paediatric unit.

Zimbabwe's health care service, the economy, etc. have all but collapse not because for the last 40 years the country's ruling elite have creamed off the nation's wealth to build mansions and bankroll their lavish lifestyles. Mugabe's sprawling Blue Roof mansion, there are many others for his cronies, is Zimbabwe's answer to the Greeks' Parthenon.

The Parthenon was built to honour the Goddess Athene and to mark Greece's golden age of unparalleled prosperity, innovation and intellectual advance. The Blue Roof was built to honour corruption and greed and triggered Zimbabwe's economic meltdown - the age of the mindless demagogues.

Zimbabwe has been truly luck that the corona virus has not been as deadly as Ebola! Still the availability of the corona virus vaccine is a very well come development, the country will get some in its begging bowl.

The corona virus was not only a health hazard, it has caused serious economic disruption. Many economies have shrunk by as much as 10% plus in the last year. Corona virus has brought about a worldwide economic depression and it will probably take ten years or so to fully recovery to the pre-corona virus level.

Economic depression bite hard those in the developed world and swallow whole those in the poor developing nations. A country like Zimbabwe which had the economic meltdown before the corona virus outbreak is in serious, serious trouble. There will be no vaccine for bad governance.

Zimbabwe must now bite the bullet and address the problem of bad governance, the age of the mindless demagogues, the root cause of the country's economic meltdown. We know the cure is to implement the reforms and thus ensure free, fair and credible elections. The nation has paid dearly for having allowed the Zanu PF dictatorship take root all these last 40 years and now the nation must act or the years ahead will be hell-on-earth.

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