DANGEROUS: Importing New Covid-19 Drug May Undermine Uganda’s Fight Against HIV/AIDS


KAMPALA, Uganda[SHIFTMEDIA NEWS ] COVID 19 deaths and infection might have reduced in Uganda in particular and the African continent in general, with minimal deaths registered so far compared to other continents.

But this might not be interesting news to those who said they would see dead bodies in the streets of Africa due to COVID 19 pandemic.

“I see dead bodies all over Africa, look at what is happening in Ecuador,” said Philanthropist Melinda Gates .


Uganda could lose its mega efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS

Most Africa’s top public health bodies are now in talks with Pfizer about securing supplies of its antiviral COVID-19 pills for the continent.

Africa is the latest to join the race for a drug seen as a potential game changer in fighting the virus.

Governments around the world are scrambling to buy Paxlovid, that experts says is risky.

The latest Ministry of Health report indicates that Uganda performed so well globally regarding the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The facts on HIV and AIDS in Uganda 2021 (Library Health )  based on Data ending 31st December 2020 indicated that Uganda was among the best eight (8) nations globally that had fully achieved the 90-90-90 targets by the end of 2020.

The only others that excelled were Eswatin, Switzerland, Rwanda, Qatar, Botswana, Slovenia and Malawi.

Worries arise

Researchers are now worried that Uganda risks being a dumping ground for this “dangerous’ drugs. “Is it any wonder that the dumping ground for this risky drug, to say the least, is Uganda!” wondered a Ugandan US based researcher.

HIV-1PR is an essential enzyme of HIV replication, and is a vital target for drug design strategies to fight AIDS.

Scientists have observed that Pfizer’s Paxlovid stops inhibitors of HIV replication enzyme. Meaning that it stops HIV drugs from working. Basically undoing one of the most achievements of molecular medicine.

The Rush for Paxlovid

According to Cbc Africa the Paxlovid medication was nearly 90% effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths, and data suggested it retains its effectiveness against the Omicron variant, Pfizer has said.

“We are in really close discussions with Pfizer to see what can be done to make the drugs available on the continent and accessible on the continent, that is, the Paxlovid drugs,” said John Nkengasong, director of African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

Much as this may come as good news to many, it has drastic impacts to those living with HIV/ AIDS.

But can developing nations afford Paxovid?

While wealthy countries, including the United States and Britain, have secured deals to buy the pills, concerns have grown that low-income countries would lag in this effort due to tight supplies, as was the case in the scramble for vaccines.

The U.S. government’s contract for 10 million courses of the drug is priced at $530 (UGX1,935,000) per course, a price that would put it out of reach for many poorer countries Uganda inclusive.

So what is the issue?

Much as the Paxlovid can help prevent fatalities against -19, it has far reaching impacts on those living with HIV/AIDS.


According to medics with expertise in the Paxlovid pill, the drug manufactured by Pfizer has a high risk of increasing getting HIV/AIDS deaths.

Researchers react

Leading researchers based in the US in a notice issued to the Uganda’s Minister of Health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng that we have obtained warned: “Uganda can’t afford to reverse these achievement! I can’t just stand by as I see what the Big Pharma is up to.”

“I lost too many relatives at the beginning of the HIV/AIDS just because Big Pharma decided to overprice RTV drugs. I will can’t afford to keep quiet. We must all speak up.”

Research indicates that resistance developed because of nirmatrelvir that is co- administered with ritonavir, may be a risk of HIV-1 developing resistance to HIV protease inhibitors in individuals with controlled or undiagnosed HIV-1 infection.

“Those trying to import this drug must come clean with the nation about the risks its going to expose to the citizens, especially those already living with HIV/AIDS,” said our source on condition of anonymity..

He noted that Uganda importing a COVID 19 Drug that undermines HIV AIDS and to give the drug without the informed consent is dangerous. ‘This act will reverse the achievements in the fight against HIV,” he said.

“Pfizer’s Paxlovid creates resistance to HIV protease inhibitors so that will render HIV drugs ineffective /useless when they are given to HIV patients,” he said.

“Why should anyone trust Big Pharma with creating a vaccine for HIV when they have created a drug that undermines effective that have saved millions of black people.” 

Our efforts to get a comment from the Health Minister were futile.

The researcher notes that the design, development and clinical success of HIV protease inhibitors represent one of the most remarkable achievements of molecular medicine.

Embrace local researchers

When It comes to Prof Ogwangs’ Covidex, a home grown effective remedy with known ingredients, implementation becomes a hurdle.

The new Mulago Executive Director Dr. Rosemary Byanyima explained that they are not administering the drug (Covidex) due to lack of prescription guidelines.

“For us to start using the drug in the hospital, we have to know the chemical composition, like mRNA Vaccines. The side effects and the dosage first. Short of that, we cannot give it to the patients,” Byanyima was quoted in Bukedde Newspaper.

“These are double standards when it comes to using anything a muzungu makes. Bill Gates said clearly and emphatically that not recipe of the vaccines will be given to developing countries, weren’t COVID-19 Vaccines made mandatory? No African country knows what’s in Pfizer’s COVID-19 Paxlovid pills, but isn’t the Uganda’s Ministry Health trying to get it?” mused the researcher.



No African country knows what’s in Pfizer’s COVID-19 Paxlovid pills, but isn’t the Uganda’s Ministry of Health trying to get it?” 


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