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China must help Africa to fight COVID-19 SA variant

18 Feb 2021 at 05:47hrs | Views
WHAT should have been done differently with respect to the Chinese vaccines shipped to Zimbabwe?

A few things could have been done differently:

- Yes the South African variant is new (December 2020) and the Chinese vaccine has be around for a while and tested in a number of places.

If we and the Chinese were in a proactive and empowering partnership, from December up to now; clinical trials could have be done on the drug on this South African variant in Zimbabwe or South Africa by the Chinese working with Africans.

- We could have established the efficacy of the Chinese drug against the SA variant before rollout, just as he South Africans did with respect to the Oxford one before rollout, although they were late as well.

- A lot of things can be done before shipping a drug, if there is a meaningful partnership between the manufacturer and consumer.

- Forget the SA variant. For the other variants in Zimbabwe, Zimbabweans working with the Chinese should have done trials way before shipment. There was plenty of time to run trials of the Chinese vaccine on the variants in Zimbabwe. Why should we depend on data and trials from other jurisdictions? Where is our agency in this?

- Advance work with the Chinese in Zimbabwe would have enabled us to do a SWOT [strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats] analysis on the vaccine and clearly understand its exceptions (cases where it does not apply).

All this knowledge and insights about the Chinese vaccine could have been gathered way before shipment into Zimbabwe.

- More, importantly the Chinese are our all-weather friends (I hope and trust that this is the case).

Why can't we as a continent work with them to do vaccines R and D, manufacture of vaccines, run clinical trials ... participate in the entire drug value chain?

The Chinese are working on at least six vaccines. Why can't they partner with the African continent on just one of those vaccines?

As all-weather friends bound by the goal to fight imperialism (as they tell us) we surely can work on just one vaccine as a continent with our dear comrades.

That is not too much to ask as comrades in arms.

- Listen, it is a crisis situation. Yes, we take what is available. We must save our people. However, we must learn and try to do things differently. Where we err we must quickly rectify the situation.

The sooner we pick up lessons from this COVID-19 experience as Africans the better for our struggle against this pandemic and future ones.

Source - newsday
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