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Covid-19: Less haste, more safety

BMJ 2020; 370 doi: (Published 20 August 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;370:m3258

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Rapid Response:

Re: "Few Can doubt we need a Covid-19 Vaccine as soon as possible .." Really?

Dear Editor

“Few can doubt we need a covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible ..” Really?

I am one of the few, and I invite serious thinkers to prove I am a fool.


The British choose the best for the Royal Family. One of the greatest things that happened to me in England was to be taught at Westminster Hospital School of Medicine by Clinicians of the Royal Family – chief among them Sir Clement Price-Thomas who operated on King George VI, and Sir Richard Bayliss, Physician of Queen Elizabeth II. These remarkable Clinicians taught me that when confronted with a problem I should first look at the “Principles” before rushing to “Details”. Indeed, as I testified on 5th September 2018 at University of Hertfordshire Award Ceremony at St Albans City Cathedral “Sir Richard Bayliss KCVO MA MD FRCP taught me what I most cherish in Clinical Medicine – Look at Principles carefully before rushing into Details”. [1] Without stating explicitly that her message was one of Principles-before-Details, Dr Fiona Godlee’s Festina Lente advice proved precisely that [2] when she editorialised the instructive articles in this week’s BMJ, her message, paradoxically, confirming to me that I am absolutely right to be one of the “few” not hankering after COVID-19 Vaccines.


We read in BMJ that Royal College of General Practitioners said “We fully support the Swine Flu Vaccination Programme … the vaccine has been thoroughly tested”, but according to Dr Peter Doshi “it hadn’t”. [3] Moreover, of 3 “Approved” vaccines, the one with 5069 (72 million doses) adverse events and with 5 times more side effects than the combined side effects of the other two was the one chosen for UK’s 3 “approved vaccines”. Manufactured in different countries and distributed to different places which was the one chosen for Africa, I wonder? The World Media cannot be trusted to be even-handed in things scientific pertaining to Africa [4 5 6 7] therefore African Institutions like GHANA ACADEMY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES and respected friends of Africa must protect our Continent from distorted health information and dubious practices [8 9 10 11 12 13].


Lord Ritchie Calder revealed in Lancet a grim truth, namely that Genuine Public Health scientists coexist with those practising “Public Health in Reverse” [14]. The latter came to “help” people considered “unfavoured races” - Charles Darwin’s own term [15], resulting in African “Paranoia” about foreign medical research. What were called “CONSPIRACY THEORIES” were exposed by President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama as CONSPIRACY FACTS and openly apologised for: American scientists deliberately infected Blacks with Syphilis over several decades. [16 17] ETHICS found wanting in Medical Research and Practice [18-28].

What are we to make of Billionaires sponsoring production of millions of genetically modified mosquitoes to “solve” the malaria problem when a fraction of the cost of doing that exercise can provide sanitation, drains, and safe drinking water in the same countries, especially when some other Public Health Scientists (the good ones) have said in the BMJ that such genetic modification of mosquitoes is dangerous, and must stop? [29 30].

Have we not read in the BMJ how foreign “helpers” in South Africa facilitated the spread of AIDS? [31 32]. Is a “Paranoid African” like me to be blamed for warning fellow tribes-people “Equo ne credite, Teucri Quidquid id est, timeo Danaos et dona ferentes”? [Do not trust the horse, Trojans! Whatever it is, I fear the Greeks even when they bring gifts!) [25 26]


It is generally accepted that bats in China were the origin of the COVID-19 virus. Am I unduly paranoid to warn fellow Ghanaians that they need to be very careful accepting research projects from abroad that involve the dissection of bats in the laboratory? In one of their publications scientists from Kumasi said this: “Bats have been implicated as reservoirs of emerging viruses …” [33] So, is it beyond the realm of possibility that a foreign scientist who answers the description of Lord Ritchie Calder’s “Public Health in Reverse”, could infiltrate excellent other scientists to dissect bats in Kumasi? Talking about “Emerging Viruses” could Kumasi be a future Epicentre of an “Emerging Virus” from a Ghanaian bat? Would Liverpool University’s School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene that trained me, a London University postgraduate, not consider me unworthy of their DTMH if I failed to ask these questions?


Yes, indeed, there is much published information about things that protect against COVID-19. [34-41] - VITAMIN C which in high dosage disrupts the molecular architecture of viruses (RNA and others) and even cancer cells.[42] There are at least two reasons why Vitamin C has not been shouted about daily:

First, because of the same reason that Dr Fiona Godlee’s excellent “Festina Lente” Editorial is not BREAKING NEWS on BBC and other media – it puts brakes on the “We must vaccinate the entire Universe” Express Train.

Secondly, VITAMIN C though safe, effective, and readily available cannot be patented.


A Ghanaian UK Doctor deteriorating with COVID-19 writes a legal document “This is how I want to be treated: My G6PD enzyme level is Normal. Give me 1.500 mg Vitamin C intravenously on admission, and 10 grams 8 hourly plus supportive measures. After 3 days switch to 10 grams oral Liposomal Vitamin C 8-hourly”.

Would the Physician agreeing to treat him/her be told by GMC “Vitamin C is not licensed in UK for COVID-19 treatment so stop it!”? Would a Court-of-Law accept an appeal? Especially when no Air-Line was prepared to fly him/her to Ghana where our GMC would not forbid such treatment?

Conflict of Interest: None Declared. Twitter @profkonoteyahul

Felix I D Konotey-Ahulu FGA MB BS MD(Lond) DSc(HonUCC) DSc(HonUH) FRCP(Lond) FRCP(Glasg) DTMH(L’pool) FGCP FWACP FTWAS ORDER OF THE VOLTA (OFFICER) Kwegyir Aggrey Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics University of Cape Coast, Ghana; Former Consultant Physician Specialist (Appointed 1976 by Commissioner of Health Brigadier Odartey-Wellington) to Ghana Ministry of Health, and Former Consultant Physician/Genetic Counsellor in Sickle Cell and Other Haemoglobinopathies Korle Bu Teaching Hospital & Director Ghana Institute of Clinical Genetics, and 9 Harley Street, Phoenix Hospital Group, London W1G 9AL. [ ] [ Twitter@profkonoteyahul


1. Konotey-Ahulu FID. University of Hertfordshire CONVOCATION FOR AWARDS 5th September 2018 ACCEPTANCE SPEECH for Hon DSc, acknowledging THE excellence of my Teachers at Westminster Hospital School of Medicine. [Lord Salisbury Vice Chancellor presiding]

2. Godlee Fiona. Less haste, more safety. Editorial BMJ 2020; 370.m3258. August 22-29 2020.

3. Doshi Peter. Pandemix vaccine: Why was public not told of early vaccine warning signs? BMJ 2018; 362:k3948 doi: 20 September 2018

4. BBC SCIENCE IN ACTION Sunday 3rd May 1987 London University Researcher interviewed about article in Lancet on Saturday 2nd May explaining why AIDS virus was spreading faster in Central Africa than in the USA and how a gene Gc1f was as common in homosexuals as in Central Africans. The findings were found to be false, and withdrawn from publication, but BBC kept quiet about the “Erroneous Data”, not willing to confess “ERRONEOUS SCIENCE IN ACTION” [5 6 7]

5. Lancet May 2 1987 Eales LJ, Nye KE, Parkin JM, Weber JN, Forster SM, Harris JRW, Pinching AJ. Association of different allelic forms of group specific component with susceptibility to and clinical manifestation of human immunodeficiency virus infection. Lancet 1987; 1: 999-1002.

6. Konotey-Ahulu FID. Group specific component and HIV infection. Lancet 1987; 1: 1267 [I was the first to criticise this article which had later to be withdrawn. See below]

7. Eales L-J, Nye K., Pinching AJ. Group specific component and AIDS. Erroneous Data. Lancet 1988; 1: 1268-1269.

8.. Konotey-Ahulu FID. Ebola and Ethics: “Are vaccine trials going on somewhere in Africa?”. BMJ Rapid Response 02 June 2015

9. Konotey-Ahulu FID. Ebola and Ethics: Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences and Ghana Government Suspend Ebola Virus Vaccine Trials. BMJ Rapid Response 14 June 2015

10. Konotey-Ahulu FID. Ebola viewed through HIV/AIDS spectacles – What Africans think. BMJ Rapid Response. August 7 2015 to Zosia Kmietowicz: Ebola vaccine trial results “extremely promising” says WHO. BMJ 351: h4192 July 31 2015.

11. Kardas-Nelson Mara. Ebola in Africa: Lessons learnt. BMJ 2019; 366:15012

12. Gerricke CE. Ebola and ethics: autopsy of a failure. BMJ 2015;350:h2105.

13. Anand JK. Ebola and ethics: autopsy of a failure

14. Ritchie-Calder Lord. Annotations: The Biological Bomb. Lancet 1968; 1: 465. March 20.

15. Darwin Charles. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. 24 November 1859) London, John Murray, Albermarle Street. [“The Favoured Race” and therefore worthy to be preserved at the expense of the “Less Favoured” through Public Health in reverse?]

16. Clinton President WJ. Apology on behalf of the American Government to survivors of the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment victims. Worldwide radio and Television, May 16 1997. [President Clinton’s actual words were “The United States Government did something that was wrong, deeply, profoundly, morally wrong. It was outrage to our commitment to integrity and equality for all our citizens. It was clearly racist”]

17. Konotey-Ahulu FID. President Barack Obama apologises over Guatemala syphilis study: International co-operative research in jeopardy. BMJ Rapid Response October 17 2010. [16 References]

18. Thairu Kihumbu. The African & The AIDS Holocaust: An Historical and Medical Perspective. Nairobi, Kenya 2003; Phoenix Publishers Ltd. ISBN 9966 47 1847.

19. Fraser George R. Human Genetics today: hopes and risks. In FIFTY YEARS OF HUMAN GENETICS – A Festschrift and Liber Amicorum to celebrate the life and work of GEORGE ROBERT FRASER, Edited by Oliver Mayo and Carolyn Leach. Wakefield Press, 2007, pages 299 – 308. 1 The Parade West, Kent Town, South Australia 5067

20.. Muller-Hill Bello. Murderous Science. Elimination by Scientific Selection of Jews, Gypsies, and Others – Germany 1933-1945 [Translation from German by GR Fraser] Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1988.

21.. Wise Jaqui. Consortium hopes to sequence genome of 1000 volunteers. International Consortium Announced the 1000 Genomes Project. Major Sequencing Effort Will Produce Most Detailed Map of Human Genetic Variation to Support Disease Studies (Tuesday January 22 2008). BMJ 2008; 336: 237 (2 Feb.):

22.. Announcement: International Consortium Annoiuncesd the 1000 Genomes Project. Major Sequencing Effort Will Produce Most Detailed Map of Human Genetic Variation to Support Disease Studies (Tuesday January 22 2008).

23. Konotey-Ahulu FID. Sequencing genome of 1000 volunteers: Why do this anonymously? African J Health Sciences 2011; 18:37-52.[96 References]

24. Professor James Bowman, the brilliant African American Professor of Medicine and Haematology University of Illinois, Chicago sums up succinctly people’s reluctance to accept genetic and genomic investigations as “the legacy that we must accept for past and present discriminatory practices at expense of the “Less Favoured”? In Politics and The Life Sciences (PLS) 1999, Vol 18, No 2. Ethics in Genomic Research.

25. Resnik DB. The Human Genome Diversity Project: Ethical Problems and Solutions. Politics and GThe Life Sciences: 18: 15-23.

26. Konotey-Ahulu FID. The Human Genome Diversity Project: Cogitations of An African Native. Politics and the Life Sciences (PLS) 1999, Vol 18: No 2, pp 317-322. [Invited Commentary on Professor David Resnik's article: The Human Genome Diversity Project: Ethical Problems and Solutions. Like the Ancient Romans warning about Greek Philanthropists coming with gifts I warned about gifts for Africa to help in Health Care Research and Practice “Equo ne credite, TeucriI Quidquid id est, timeo Danaos et dona ferentes!” (Do not trust the horse, Trojans! Whatever it is, I fear the Greeks even when they bring gifts!).

27. Arie Sophie. Ebola: A game changer for vaccines, or a scare that will soon be forgotten? BMJ 2015; 350:h1938

28. Alper Joseph S, Beckwith Jon. Racism: A Central Problem for the Human Genome Diversity Project. In POLITICS AND THE LIFE SCIENCES, Sept 1999, Vol 18(2), pp 285-288

29.. McCarthy Michael. Scientists call for moratorium on clinical use of human germ line editing. BMJ 2015; 351: h6603 7th December 2015

30. Konotey-Ahulu FID. Scientists call for moratorium on clinical use of human germ line editing: A déjà vu of Ethical Caveat! Rapid Response 16 Dec 2015 to Dr Michael McCarthy’s “Scientists call for moratorium on clinical use of human germline editing" BMJ 2015; BMJ 2015; 351: h6603.

31. Fassin Didier, Schneider Helen. The Politics of AIDS in South Africa: Beyond the controversies. Brit Med J 2003; 326: 495-497. March 1, 2003.

32. Konotey-Ahulu FID. AIDS in South Africa: Wake up call and need for paradigm shift. BMJ 20003. Rapid response to Didier Fassin and Helen Schneider. [7000 words with 70 references] .

33. Binger T, Annan Augustina, Dexter JF, Muller MA, Kellies R, Adankwa E, Wollney R, Kopp Anne, Heldermann Hanna, Dickson Dei, Agya-Yao FC, Junglen Sandra, Feldt T, Kurth Andreas, Oppong S, Adu-Sarkodie Y, Drosten C. A Novel Rhabdovirus Isolated from the Straw-Colored Fruit Bat Eidolon helvum, with Signs of Antibodies in Swine and Humans. 11 February 2015 > pub ..J Virol 2015 Apr; 89(8): 4588-97 doi:10.1128//JVI.02932-14. Epub 2015 Feb 11.[ Abstract : “Bats have been implicated as reservoirs of emerging viruses.…”

34. Cheng Richard C “The 3rd Large Dose Vitamin C Clinical Study for NCP Approval” on YouTube

35. Pauling Linus. The Significance of the Evidence about Ascorbic Acid and the Common Cold. Proc Nat Acad Sci USA. 68, 2678-2681.

36. Cheng Richard Z Orthomolecular Nutrients

37. Klenner F. 1951.Massive doses of Vitamin C and the virus diseases. Southern Medicine & Surgery. 103(4): 101-107. (April 1951).

38. Hoffer Abram, Pauling Linus. Vitamin C and Cancer: Discovery, Recovery, Controversy. 1979. [ISBN 10 1550820788 & ISBN 13 978-1550820782]

39. Cheng Richard Z. Risk of Roundup Webcast: Can Vitamin C Prevent and Treat COVI-19? 11th May 2020

40. Cheng Richard C. Protected Group Immunity, Not A Vaccine is the way to stop the COVID-19 Pandemic [OMNS April 30 2020]

41. Ayettey AS, Quakyi Isabella A, Ayettey-Anie Hannah NG, Sagoe Kwamena W, Ayettey-Adamafio Mary NB, Newman-Nartey Merley, Ayettey Brew Ruth NA, Nartey Nii Otu, Amoah Albert GB, Konotey-Ahulu FID. A Case for Hydrogen Peroxide Mouthwash and Gargle to limit SARS-CoV-2 Infection. BMJ July 2 2020 Rapid Response to COVID-19: What treatments are being investigated? BMJ 2020; 368: m1252.

42. Konotey-Ahulu FID. COVID-19 Treatment with CHLOROQUINE or Intravenous VITAMIN C Requires Prior Exclusion of G6PD Deficiency! BMJ Rapid Response April 20 2020


Competing interests: No competing interests

22 August 2020
Felix ID Konotey-Ahulu
Kwegyir Aggrey Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics University of Cape Coast, Ghana and Former Consultant Physician Genetic Counsellor in Sickle Cell and Other Haemoglobinopathies and Director Ghana Institute of Clinical Genetics, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra and at Phoenix Hospital Group, 9 Harley Street, London W1G 9AL.