Overthrowing capitalism only way to eradicate Covid variants


THE NEW variant strain of Covid-19, given the name Omicron by the World Health Organisation (WHO), burst onto the world scene last week although scientists had long predicted that the emergence of such a potentially dangerous strain was inevitable while the pandemic was rampaging virtually unchecked throughout the world.

On Friday, the WHO issued a warning that this variant, first identified in South Africa, had the capacity to spread more rapidly than previous strains like the Delta variant and could possible be more dangerous and with a resistance to existing vaccines.

While the medical evidence to the dangers to life of this variant are as yet not fully known it clearly represents a massive worldwide threat.

On Saturday evening, Boris Johnson appeared on TV to give the Tory response to this potentially lethal development which consisted of nothing more than making mask-wearing on public transport and in shops a legal requirement.

There was to be no lockdown and no working from home.

At all costs British capitalism must be kept open to ensure the profits of the bankers, regardless of the threat to workers lives.

The rapid emergence of the Omicron variant has also thrown the spotlight on the role wealthy western capitalism has played in creating the conditions where such variants are not just possible but inevitable.

Dr Seth Berkley, chief executive of Gavi an international alliance to improve global access to all vaccines, told the Independent newspaper: ‘While we still need to know more about Omicron, we do know that as long as large portions of the world’s population are unvaccinated, variants will continue to appear, and the pandemic will continue to be prolonged.’

He added: ‘We will only prevent variants from emerging if we are able to protect all the world’s population, not just the wealthy parts.’

Medical charities and trade unions, including the TUC, have increased their calls for the UK and other wealthy countries not just to share doses of the vaccines but also to share the intellectual secrets behind them by waiving intellectual property rights for Covid vaccines.

South Africa and India submitted a proposal to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) last year to waive the intellectual property rights (IP) of pharmaceutical companies for Covid vaccines and therapies.

A waiver would enable drug manufacturers in developing countries to manufacture vaccines without fear of being sued by the companies that own these patents on the drugs.

These big companies have a monopoly on these drugs and justify their monopoly and the vast fortune in profits from them by claiming that it was their investment that made production of vaccines possible. In fact, at least 97% of the research into the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine was funded out of taxpayers’ money along with the majority of all Covid vaccines.

The proposal to waive IP rights (known as the TRIPS waiver) has met with outright resistance from the pharmaceutical companies determined to maintain their profits and it has been met with continued obstacles from rich western countries including the UK.

Despite leaders like Johnson proclaiming that Covid must be tackled internationally these countries have put up obstructions to ensure the waiver is blocked.

Vivtorine de Milliano from the international medical charity MSF, said: ‘It is absolutely shameful that the UK and other wealthy governments have continued to block the TRIPS waiver, knowing that it has the potential to protect some of the world’s most vulnerable people.’

What the Covid pandemic and the emergence of newer variants has shown is that a capitalist system that places profit for the capitalist class above the lives of workers at home and the most vulnerable people in the world is not fit to survive.

It will never follow the example set by China which despite being a deformed workers’ state was able to mobilise the full resources of the state with the full support of its people to enforce a total lockdown which along with vaccines showed the way to eradicate and defeat the coronavirus pandemic.

Carrying out this on a world scale requires the eradication of capitalism through the victory of the world socialist revolution – this is the way forward for workers and the masses of the world.