Uganda’s top scientist Prof. Ponsiano Kaleebu have urged survivors of the deadly Ebola Virus to use condoms following a discovery that the virus can remain alive in the human sperms for up to six months and can be spread through having live sex.
Prof. Kaleebu, who is the Director of Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), made the revelation at an awards dinner hosted by businessman Charles Mbire for the SMACK 70s OBs at the Kampala Serena Hotel, on Tuesday 20th December 2022.
Prof. Kaleebu, was one of the Old Boys of the school who was awarded for outstanding services in the area of scientific research.
“We have had a number of challenges in scientific research and we are trying to categorize the different viruses we are faced with, right from HIV, COVID 19 and now Ebola, each one of which presents different characteristics. For Ebola, much as it’s easy to manage the spread, we have discovered that it can stay alive in human sperm for up to six months and victims who survived, risk spreading it through sex” he said.
On COVID 19, Prof Kaleebu urged people especially the elderly to go for booster doses of generational vaccines since the virus has the ability to mutate, therefore presenting challenges of developing new variants.
On the progress with the Ugandan vaccines which the President promised the nation, Prof Kaleebu said scientific research especially the ones that involve developing vaccines go through intricate processes that cannot be rushed.
“ It’s quite challenging to mix science with politics. I never told anyone that we would develop the vaccine in six months. Me I always say the truth. Science and ethics are my truth. But we are making steady headway. Unlike HIV, COVID is different because the human immune system can fight it. And that explains why it was easy to develop the vaccines in such short spurn of time”” he said.
He thanked the SMACK OBs for giving him an award in recognition of his scientific exploits.
MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbire, who presented the award, said Uganda is blessed to have people of Professor Kaleebu’s calibre, adding that when COVID hit the world by surprise, everyone else went into hiding but scientists like him stood their ground to fight the pandemic and the relief the world is experiencing now can be attributed to them for their heroic exploits.
“Some of us in Uganda were able to uptake the vaccines because of Prof. Kaleebu’s involvement and participation in the formation of the vaccines. He is our own, an OB of SMACK in the 70s with whom we ate fene in Kisubi. He is the one who gave us the assurance that the vaccines were safe” Mbire said.
The dinner, which was graced by a cross section of flamboyant OBs in company of their spouses, also saw the outgoing Head Teacher of SMACK, Brother Aganyira Deodati awarded for his outstanding service to the school.
The other awardee was the IT Manager of Uganda Virus Research Institute Mr Robert Mugabi for his outstanding efforts in the vaccine research at the Institute. Each one of them received a gift from Mbire of the latest Iphone.
Brother Deodati thanked the OBs of the school for standing with the school and upholding its greatness over times. He particularly showered accolades on Mbire for the lavish dinner in addition to the construction of staff quarters and donation of large TV screens to the school.
The Senior citizens were entertained by the famous Afrigo Band that kept them on the dance floor with a beevy of memorable songs deep into the night.