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Africa alerted the world to Omicron. Why are we now the pariahs? | Ayoade Olatunbosun-Alakija

Rich nations are again raising barriers to ending the pandemic – politicians, globally, must follow the science and act together

  • Dr Ayoade Olatunbosun-Alakija is the co-chair of the African Union’s Africa Vaccine Delivery Alliance

The advent of the Omicron variant has given us a glimpse of an alternative future in which, had the Sars-CoV-2 virus been initially identified in Africa in early 2020, the world would have maybe locked Africa away. There would have been no emergency funding for vaccine development, limited global attention, and Africa would have become known as the continent of Covid.

We may never know the origins of Omicron, but there is now evidence that this variant was circulating in the Netherlands before it was officially identified in South Africa. African scientists’ superior level of pandemic preparedness is what has enabled the world to quickly respond to this new threat. However, the response has entailed the imposition of travel bans – shutting out southern African countries, as well as Nigeria and Egypt, who have now had to pay a heavy price in trade and tourism for identifying this variant in such an expeditious manner.

Dr Ayoade Olatunbosun-Alakija is the co-chair of the African Union’s Africa Vaccine Delivery Alliance and former chief humanitarian coordinator of Nigeria

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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