Prince Harry slams ‘corporate greed and political failure’ in Covid and HIV ‘pandemics’

Prince Harry and Winnie Byanyima call for a people's vaccine

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Prince Harry, 37, marked World Aids Day yesterday by writing a lengthy open letter to the director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Tedros Adhanom and the executive director of UNAIDS Winnie Byanyima. The Duke of Sussex paid tribute to the work of those in the science community but also warned there are striking parallels between the outbreak of COVID-19 and HIV.

Speaking in video footage for The People’s Vaccine, Harry said: “This is a story about how corporate greed and political failure have prolonged both pandemics and what we can do to stop it.”

He added: “By ending vaccine monopolies and sharing technology, companies in the developing world can start producing Covid vaccines too.”

The footage featured clips of Harry’s late mother Princess Diana and an appearance made by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at the Global Citizen Live event in New York in September.

Harry also drew on his mother’s experience in the open letter he penned.

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He claimed Lady Diana, who sought to change public perception of HIV when she shook the hand of a man who had contracted the virus without wearing a glove in 1987, would be “deeply grateful” to those in the scientific community for the work they have done.

However, the Duke added: “It’s time to draw from the lessons learned throughout HIV/AIDS, where millions died unnecessarily due to deep inequities in access to treatment.

“Are we really comfortable repeating the failures of the past?

“Everything I’ve learnt, from the youth of Sentebale, tells me not.

“They see how repeating these mistakes is destructive and self-defeating, it is a betrayal of the next generation.”

Prince Harry claimed the emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant is a “deep concern”.

He wrote: “Now, more than ever, the voiceless majority of the world needs to be heard and the onus is on our leaders to end this pandemic.”

Frontline Aids executive director Christene Stegling also said leaders in developed countries needed to provide more support for poorer nations.

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She said: “This is not the first time the Governments of rich countries have moved on from a problem as soon as it appears to be in someone else’s back yard.

“We saw it with AIDS, where the transformative impact of HIV treatments in rich countries has seen urgency, focus and funding for the global response fall sharply, and we are starting to see the same thing with COVID-19.

“We cannot allow history to repeat itself.”

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