- Foundation President Rajiv J Shah said the emergence of the new COVID variant is a result of the failure of the richest countries to share their vaccines with developing countries.
- South African scientists reported the discovery of the new highly mutated variant late last week, although cases have now been identified worldwide.
- The WHO named it “a type of concern” and “very high risk” because of Omicron’s mutation, although much remains to be learned about it in the coming weeks.
Rockefeller Foundation President Rajeev J. According to Shah, the failure of the wealthiest countries to quickly and widely share COVID-19 vaccines with developing countries is a major reason for the emergence of the new Omron variant.
South African scientists reported the discovery of the highly mutated version late last week, although cases have now been identified around the world. Dutch officials say the variant was already in the Netherlands when South Africa alerted the World Health Organization.
The WHO named it “a type of concern” and “very high risk” because of Omicron’s mutation, although much remains to be learned in the coming weeks about the severity of symptoms and its potential to survive vaccines and treatments.
Speaking to CNBC at the Conference de Paris on Tuesday, Shah said the pandemic has exposed “tremendous ingenuity and innovation” in the private sector that can be harnessed in public policy. He said that Operation Warp Speed is a “huge success story” in the US.
However, he suggested that the developed world has failed in its two objectives to ensure that such success is emulated globally.
Shah said, “One was to achieve 40% vaccination coverage by the end of this year, and the other to achieve 70% and therefore achieve herd immunity by September next year. None of this has been achieved through current efforts.” He is going.”
“And that’s why we have this dangerous new version, which is disrupting global markets and global economies and lives around the world.”
‘In the national interest of all’
He said experts at the Rockefeller Foundation have estimated that new variants are six to eight times more likely to come from less developed countries, because slower vaccination means that viral replication continues at a higher rate.
Several African leaders, including South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, have accused wealthy Western nations of hoarding vaccines. Ramaphosa said in a speech over the weekend that the emergence of the Omicron variant “should be a wake-up call to the world that vaccine inequality cannot be allowed to continue.”
“Instead of banning travel, the world’s rich countries need to support the efforts of developing economies and manufacture enough vaccine doses for their people,” Ramaphosa said.
Several countries, including the US and UK, moved to restrict travel from South Africa and neighboring countries after initial reports to the WHO – one inspired by “Afrophobia” rather than science, characterized Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera on Sunday. Step.
“I clearly wish the companies involved here – Pfizer, Moderna, and others – would do more to make their products available through partnerships with local manufacturers or through true level pricing arrangements that are available in developing countries.” access to those products. The right terms are very fast,” Shah told CNBC’s Charlotte Reid on Tuesday.
“Right now serving other countries is in everyone’s national interest.”