In this section
inequity - The world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure, and the
price of this failure will be paid with lives and livelihoods in the world’s
poorest countries." Dr Tedros
Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.
availability of effective vaccines for the prevention of covid-19 has led to an
unseemly competition as countries rushed to sign deals with manufacturers,
often outbidding each other for access, to the exclusion of poorer countries.
In high income countries 60% of people have received at least one dose of Covid
vaccine, while in low income countries the figure is 3%.
the end of 2020 Europe and the Americas were struggling with high rates of
disease, while low- and middle-income countries appeared to be escaping with
relatively few cases. On November 13, 2020 India and South Africa had
similar rates of disease, less than 1/10 the rate in US or UK. Since then both
countries have had major surges in cases, India reaching a peak in early May
and South Africa enduring two peaks in early January and early July 2021.
Both countries are now showing signs of controlling the disease. In
India most cases are occurring in one state, Kerala, which has traditionally
enjoyed a high standard of health. We will discuss these countries asking the
question, “What can the rest of the world learn from India and South Africa?”
Professor Gagandeep Kang is Professor of Microbiology, at the
Wellcome Trust Research Laboratory, Division of Gastrointestinal Sciences at
the Christian Medical College (CMC) in Vellore. She has worked on the
development and use of vaccines for rotaviruses, cholera and typhoid,
conducting large studies to define burden, test vaccines and measure their
impact. Prof Kang is on several advisory committees for the WHO, related to
research and use of vaccines. She has served on the scientific advisory or
strategic committee of several national and international institutions, including
the Wellcome Trust, UK, the DBT-Wellcome Trust India Alliance, the
International Vaccine Institute and the International Centers for Genetic
Engineering and Biotechnology. Professor Kang has published over 375 papers in
international and national journals. She is the first woman working in India to
be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. She is also the first Indian woman to
be elected to Fellowship of the American Academy of Microbiology and the only
physician-scientist to receive the Infosys Award in Life Sciences.
Kim Mulholland is a global
health epidemiologist and vaccine researcher.
He holds appointments at MCRI where he runs the pneumococcal
microbiology and immunology laboratories, along with major field research
programs in Vietnam, Fiji, and Mongolia.
He has researched pneumonia and pathogens for nearly 40 years and
covered every aspect. He also leads HPV,
RSV, and typhoid research programs. He
has been involved in the oversight of many vaccine trials, serving on steering
committees or DSMBs for a range of vaccines including Hib, Pneumococcal,
Dengue, RSV and Covid-19 vaccines.