Uganda-made Covid vaccine will be ready soon, says President Museveni

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

Photo credit: Badru Katumba | AFP

What you need to know:

  • The President also touted a possible breakthrough in highly effective Uganda-made Covid-19 therapeutics. 

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni Friday said his country's production of a more effective Covid-19 vaccine was nearing an advanced stage, as infections continued to surge, with government hospitals and medics overwhelmed.

‘‘We are working on our vaccine. Actually, our vaccine will be better than all others because it will cover all variants,’’ the President said in a televised address.

According to Mr Museveni, production of the vaccine in Uganda was delayed by lack of Covid-19 patients.

‘‘Around April, we had a problem. We did not have enough patients. Now there are plenty of patients (for trials),’’ he noted, further stating that he was in touch with several actors worldwide, to help solve the vaccine crisis. 

‘‘The vaccines we got cover few virus variants like the original Wuhan and India strains. The vaccines which are there now may not cover the risk,’’ Mr Museveni added as he announced stricter measures to contain the viral disease.

Medical autonomy

The President also touted a possible breakthrough in highly effective Uganda-made Covid-19 therapeutics. 

‘‘They are not yet published but I have two lines of treatment with my people, quietly. [sic]. In one, they have treated 70 people and 58 have recovered,’’ he said, while also projecting that by June 25, Ugandan scientists will have covered the clinical trial cap of 120 subjects required for medicinal approval.

According to Mr Museveni, Uganda will, by 2022, be medically autonomous after ‘‘seeing how dangerous it is to depend on others for life".

‘‘By the coming year, Uganda will not be dependent on outsiders for medical solutions. We shall get our own solutions, vaccines, therapeutics...’ he said. 

Herbal treatment

As questions about the efficacy of herbs in Covid-19 treatment continue to linger, Mr Museveni said: ‘‘Some of our educated scientist knew about the traditional medication. One of them is aware of some herbs used to treat measles and herpes simplex viral infections."

With thousands of Ugandans already locked in a Covid-19 self-medication gamble, the President claimed one of his experts cured about 30 patients using some herbs.

‘‘When the virus came, I talked to him and he said he had applied this herb on 30 people and that they all recovered,’’ he said.

For Mr Museveni, ‘‘the ultimate solution to the Covid-19 virus challenge is getting our people vaccinated’’ under a public health approach where ‘‘prevention is still the best solution".

Meanwhile, the Health ministry on Saturday announced 1,397 new cases, which raised the number of declared infections in Uganda,  since the outbreak was confirmed in March last year, to 70,176. The government said 42 more deaths were confirmed overnight, raising the toll to 626.

The number of recoveries was 49,327, the positivity rate 15 per cent, the number of tests conducted 1,248, 469 and the number of vaccinated people 821,659.

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