COVID-19

United Nations must spearhead the coronavirus vaccine research

Covid19 is a classic xample of the unwelcome visitor.
The virus calls for a structured approach to manage it.
The United Nations must spearhead novel coronavirus
research for vaccine/cure to avoid capitalists exploiting
the world.

As I see it, this virus is here to stay. It is like a visitor who has overstayed. The best way to get it out through the door is a cure or a vaccine so that people can resume their normal lives. Unlike other viruses like HIV/AIDS, these do not affect so many people at the same time uncontrollably. You can sit next to the infected person and do not get the virus.  Not with covid19. Much as the case mortality rate is low, no country wants so many people rushing to hospitals at the same time! It gets the system overwhelmed thereby leading to risks of segregation or favoritism since it is difficult to enforce first-come, first treated.

HIV is unwelcome, but somehow, the world has not invested a lot to find a cure and let it go, maybe someone somewhere benefits from its presence!

Now coronavirus has come. A special fund should be set up under the leadership of the UN so that no single capitalist nation/ company exploits it to the extent there is no incentive to fix it once and for all.

Growing up in the village, there was a man who would come home at supper time. In those days, being welcoming was a virtue. Someone finds you having a meal; you invited them to join.  One man made it his business to visit us at dinner time every other day. He became an unwelcome visitor. At first, we would all serve from the same dish and eat together as a family. However, this man-made us to change.  My brother suggested we give each person his food portion on their plate the way hotels serve. Such an arrangement promotes individualism and is not recommended for a family setting. But we had to do it to solve a problem. As young boys, we did not know that this man had eloped with one of our elder sisters. For this reason, all our efforts to get rid of the man failed. Until one of our brothers came up with the idea of serving each person on his plate!

When someone is benefiting from the problem, it is difficult to get rid of it!

#covid19 is such a visitor. And it is not relenting. As of today, there are 2.6m confirmed cases in the world, with 177,424 deaths. These are not natural deaths. And that is what makes covid19 a pandemic. So many people are dying within a short period. In Uganda, the total cases now stand at 61, out of which 38 have recovered fully and discharged and 23 active cases. There is zero death thus far. Flattening the curve has helped the country manage the virus since it has not grown out of proportion yet. That gives a 62.3% recovery rate and a 0% case mortality rate. Countries that have been badly hit and recorded high mortality rate has been due to so many people becoming sick in a very short time thereby overwhelming the health facilities and workers. Without good care for all patients, many people have died.

Uganda’s timely intervention to ‘flatten the curve’ through social distancing measures has helped manage the virus. The question is when should the lockdown and curfew be lifted? No one seems to know the trigger for the lifting or easing restrictions other than the announcement of the vaccine or cure for the virus.

The problem now is that coronavirus has become an unwelcome visitor. Whether the cure or vaccine is found or not, the virus many never get eradicated from this world. It is going to be here around with us for long.  How can the world resume business as usual before the cure/vaccine is found? The longer economies continue under lockdown, the more the negative economic impact. The poor people are the most hit.

Going forward, the United Nations must prioritize research into the coronavirus vaccine/ cure. The World Health Organisation (WHO), as a specialized agency of the United Nations, must provide guidelines over the covid19 pandemic research. Since this is a global pandemic, the medicine/vaccine research should not be left in the hands of private capitalists. This should be a collective effort by all governments under the United Nations umbrella. That way, poor nations of the world shall not be exploited. Plus, if indeed, the coronavirus was a lab project by certain researchers, such people shall not be left to profit from the problem they started.

I call upon the United Nations to set up a fund for the research into the covid19 vaccine/cure.

No private company or country should be allowed to control such a vaccine/cure.

Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.

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