Sat | Jan 16, 2021

Moved to tears by Carolyn Cooper’s story

Published:Saturday | January 9, 2021 | 12:05 AM


I was moved to tears by Carolyn Cooper’s story of how she was cured of vitiligo by the drug developed by Cuba’s biotechnology for treatment of the disease. Dr Cooper wrote in her Sunday Gleaner column, January 3, 2021, the article titled ‘Banking on Cuba’s coronavirus vaccines’.

She wrote that she would be happy to take a COVID-19 vaccine from Cuba, even if it’s not approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The emotional thing about her story is that it brought back memories of an experience I had when I was a young man. I met an otherwise beautiful young woman who had vitiligo. She liked me and I liked her, but I was scared of her disease. She had white patches at the corners of her mouth, on her arms and on the back of her hands. My friends said she had leprosy, or worst, she had a demonic curse on her. Everybody seemed to shun her. In those days the cause of the disease was unknown. How that poor girl must have suffered isolation! Today, nobody in Jamaica has to suffer isolation because of vitiligo, for Lasco pharmaceuticals imports the drug right here from Cuba.

I do not know whether the Cubans were the first to put the vitiligo drug on the market, but they are as advanced in biotechnology as any first-world country. They have sent a team of medical experts to Africa to fight Ebola, and had been in the fore for eye treatment in Jamaica.

Dr Cooper’s confidence about Cuba’s biotechnology expertise because of her experience is reason enough that she thinks Jamaica should look to this Caribbean neighbour for COVID-19 vaccines, rather than to play politics with the big first-world pharmaceuticals. I agree.


Naseberry Grove, St Catherine