I’ll give you a clue – it’s not Covid-19. I’ve already written about the injustice that is evident in how the West has reacted to this virus compared to its woeful investment into the eradication of malaria. If the positions were reversed, how would you feel? And unlike COVID which mostly kills the old, malaria kills the young. In Africa, a child under the age of 5 dies every two minutes from malaria.
Again, imagine if the roles were reversed and a child was dying of COVID every two minutes in the UK? Would you be OK with people telling you it might be available in 2024 if the trials go well? Another three years of the poorest children dying? Yeah, I didn’t think so. And we shouldn’t be OK with it taking so long in Africa either. And malaria gives us an insight into how crucial a vaccine is – because malaria strains develop that are resistant to drugs and COVID will as well.
Not only that but malaria isn’t the only tropical disease that kills on a massive scale. Tuberculosis (TB) kills around 1.5 million people per year. Again, imagine if we were dealing with COVID plus another disease running rampant. How does that sound?
As Keenan Malik pointed out,
Covid-19 highlights not just the lack of attention currently given to other diseases but also the lack of attention they received even before the coronavirus. A year ago, we did not know that Covid-19 existed. Three new vaccines have already been developed (two others have been approved in Russia, though details are scarce) while more than 200 are in various stages of development. TB has afflicted humanity since antiquity. Yet there is just one TB vaccine and it does not work well in adults, while a handful of possibilities are in the pipeline.
So, perhaps, just perhaps, you could take a few minutes to contact your MP and ask them to advocate for more investment into eradicating these diseases from the world.
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