The new Omicron variant arriving from South Africa “reminds us that to get out of this pandemic we have to vaccinate the whole world, especially the poorest countries. Starting with Africa”. This was stated in an interview with Il Messaggero by pharmacologist Silvio Garattini, president and founder of the Mario Negri Institute of Pharmacological Research in Milan, according to whom a global immunization strategy is urgently needed.
“This virus is showing us that in the era of globalization we are all citizens of the world. Now a country can protect itself from the virus with currently available vaccines, but what if a more aggressive variant emerges in countries where vaccines do not exist and more contagious or even a variant insensitive to vaccines? We will have to start all over again “, underlines Garattini. Now, “we still don’t know exactly how much more dangerous” the South African variant is. “We know that it has undergone changes in the Spike protein that could make it more contagious – he explains – So what the Ministry of Health did by closing flights from South Africa and neighboring countries is correct”.
According to Garattini, the right strategy is “a large international alliance that takes care of vaccinating countries that cannot do it on their own. Let’s think of Africa, where only about 2 percent of the population is vaccinated. Vaccines are needed, many, many. and money is needed. But it is necessary to protect all of us from the threat of Sars-CoV-2 variants. All the countries of the world must make a system and move from promises to facts “. All the governments of the richest countries, he concludes, “have made a commitment to vaccinate poor countries, but in the end little has been done”.