African Union Special Envoy in the fight against COVID-19, pan-African businessman Strive Masiyiwa, has said an end to the deadly pandemic could be in sight as new treatments emerge that offer hope for a permanent cure.
Describing leaders as #Merchant of Hope, Masiyiwa writes:
This morning I was listening to the latest episode of a discussion on how the cure for HIV/AIDS was discovered – what we call ARVs. The discussion is on Sasai Podcast, American Innovations.
I have also listened to the series on how they ended Polio.
A friend of mine who is a Scientist in the USA prepares a brief for me every time there is a new development. I also follow a blog by a professor at Cambridge. I don’t rely on social media for serious information, and my brain is wired for “deep studies”, not just fleeting comments.
As I reflected on what I had listened to, I found myself thinking about COVID-19.
We have been in this global pandemic now since about March.
Compared to those other battles to find cures, which took decades, we are doing remarkable well!
Our leaders now need to start telling people we are almost there: Social Distancing and Masking are not supposed to be permanent. They are a stop-gap measure until we get Vaccines and more effective Treatments.
Unlike HIV/AIDS and ARVs, the Treatments I am seeing will actually cure this thing and give people normal lives. Some of the new drugs like Monoclonal Antibodies (or MABs) are to COVID what ARVs are to HIV/AIDs and will cure the disease as we saw with President Trump. A type of cocktail seems to be emerging.
For those who never want to get sick, the answer lies in Vaccines, like we do with Yellow Fever and Polio. Medicines and Vaccines are coming on stream quickly and some of them will really be like miracles.
How long should we wait?
I would say that in Europe and America, they are about six months to full roll out. In Africa, if we work hard enough, we should be there in 12 months for a lot of people.
I’m fighting, as (AU) Special Envoy to make sure this gap of time is less than 12 months, and certainly not longer than 12 months. I am a member of a new TaskForce set up by President Ramaphosa last week to focus on speeding things up.
Why I’m I telling you this?
As leaders, when we cannot tell people what is the EndGame in a measure, they quickly get wearied or simply rebel against a measure. But (it’s different) if we truthfully tell them that if we all prepare to MaskUp and Social Distance for the next 12 months, it will all be over. And that if they don’t, the disease will overrun us, and we can then only slow it down with Lockdowns, leading to economic hardship. People are responsible.
It’s all about how we Message and become Merchants of Hope.
#There is an End to this, I have seen it!