A PROMINENT epidemiologist said at the weekend the catastrophe taking place in India at the moment posed a massive threat to the rest of the world as well.
He said with a large number of vaccinated people on the subcontinent living in close quarters with a rapidly expanding number of infected people, displaying all manner of variants, it was a recipe for the production of a super variant, untreatable by any of the presently available vaccines.
He said unless large swathes of the Indian population (and other similarly impacted nations) were vaccinated ASAP, a much more aggressive super virus could be unleashed.
This thing is by no means over and down here, on our island home, we are not immune, as good as the situation appears at the moment.
The Australian government must immediately do four things.
It must support a suspension of patent control by the key pharmaceutical companies so that more vaccines can be rolled out, allowing the program to be dramatically upscaled worldwide.
It must support the proposal by India and South Africa at the World Trade Organisation (TRIPS waiver) which seeks to waive some intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and other medical products.
It must also dramatically scale up the vaccine rollout in Australia during this window of opportunity.
And it needs to educate the community against the sort of complacency which has seen the virus take hold again in countries that seemingly had the virus under control.
A fifth measure might be to call for the cancellation of the Olympics. Can we afford such extravagance in the middle of what is still shaping up as one of history’s worst pandemics?