UGANDAN President Yoweri Museveni Friday said production of a more effective Uganda-made Covid-19 vaccine was gearing towards advanced stages even as virus cases continue to surge with government hospitals and medics saying they are overwhelmed by patients.
‘‘We are working on our vaccine. Actually our vaccine will be better than all those because it will cover all variants,’’ the president disclosed 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 Indian 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.
The president also touted a possible breakthrough of highly effective Uganda-made Covid-19 therapeutics.
‘They are also not yet published but I have two lines of treatment with my people, quietly. In one, they have treated 70 people and 58 have recovered,’’ he disclosed 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.
As questions about the efficacy of herbs in Covid-19 treatment continue to linger, Mr Museveni stated that: ‘‘We have some of our educated scientists who knew 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, Mr Museveni claimed one of his experts cured about 30 patients using some herbs.
‘‘When this Corona came, I talked to him and he said he had applied this herb on 30 people and they all have recovered,’’ he said.
Latest data from the health ministry show that Covid-19 infections, June 19, further escalated by 1, 397 new cases as Uganda clocked 70, 176 cases since the virus outbreak was confirmed in March last year. Government said 42 more deaths were confirmed overnight.
For Mr Museveni, ‘‘the ultimate solution to this Covid-19 virus challenge is getting our people vaccinated’’ under a public health approach where ‘‘prevention is still the best solution.’’
Uganda- June 19 Covid-19 stats (Since outbreak)
Cumulative case tally- 70, 176
Deaths- 626 people
Cumulative recoveries- 49, 327
Test positivity rate- 15%
Tests conducted- 1, 248, 469
Vaccinated- 821, 659 people – Daily Monitor Uganda ■