The damned Covid-19 vaccine

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A volunteer doctor participating in clinical trials of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University has died in Brazil on 19 October.

This is the first death reported in the various coronavirus vaccine trials taking place worldwide, but Brazil’s health authority has given no details about the death, citing confidentiality protocols.

Trials of a Covid-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University will continue, following a review into the death of a volunteer in Brazil, according to BBC, and Oxford University said a “careful assessment” had revealed no safety concerns.

Russia President Vladimir Putin seems to lack confidence as well in the AstraZeneca vaccine that uses a chimpanzee adenovirus as a vector, rather than a human adenovirus vector.

“We know that many European countries have already signed contracts for deliveries of the vaccine from Britain,” Putin said with Reuters. “Unfortunately, our colleagues there have seen some setbacks, they are making their vaccine on the basis of the monkey adenovirus.”

Putin said on Thursday that Russia was facing challenges scaling up production of its vaccine due to problems with equipment availability, but hoped to start mass vaccinations by the end of the year.

The Covid-19 disease is a plague. It has evolved differently in different countries due to genetic mutation. There should be no single vaccine to cure the disease.

Coronavirus is in itself a virus but it is a biological weapon developed in a lab. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has created this virus and deliberately released it to the world. But sadly, the world’s majority has taken it as a common disease that can be cured by a vaccine.

As the coronavirus originated in Wuhan and the CCP holds the “secret formulas”, it is definitely reasonable that China has the advantage to develop the first workable vaccines.

And now a coronavirus vaccine is politically valuable to China and the CCP is leveraging its production capacity to win the vaccine diplomacy contest.

The CCP’s official line is that it has made “major strategic achievements” against COVID-19 – a term used consistently across official Chinese communications, The Conversation told.

“This clear message of success is combined with a discursive technique commonly adopted by the CCP: time-based cognitive framing, in which periods or points in time are used to develop a favourable narrative while smoothing away inconvenient details, ” Misha Ketchell writes to The Conversation.

“One month or so to initially contain (the virus) … around two months to keep new daily domestic cases within single digits,” and “about three months to achieve decisive gains in the battle for Wuhan and Hubei, ” CCP general secretary Xi Jinping set out milestones that form the contours of the official account.

To support its running dog Tedros Ghebreyesus who has helped cover-up the truth, Beijing has joined the World Health Organization-backed Covax initiative, which aims to provide 2bn vaccinations by the end of next year.

“By focusing on its willingness to cooperate on a vaccine, the CCP gains twofold. It can shield itself from accusations of culpability – and win praise for its global-spiritedness for being willing to step up, contribute and collaborate internationally while the US refuses to do so,” Misha Ketchell said.

This week, China is promising preferential access to its Covid-19 vaccines to countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America, and corrupt governments submissive to the CCP are receiving the China vaccines in political games disregarding public health risks.

In the case of Brazil, its largest Sao Paulo state has signed a deal to receive an early shipment of 46m doses of China’s Sinovac’s vaccine, which is in phase 3 trials in the country.

But apparently in a political move, President Jair Bolsonaro cancelled the contract on October 21, calling it “Joao Doria’s Chinese vaccine.”

“The Brazilian people will not be anyone’s guinea pig … Hence, I have decided not to purchase this vaccine,” Bolsonaro wrote in a Facebook post.

Doria has hit back, claiming that Sinovac’s vaccine is “Brazil’s vaccine” because the Butantan Institute is helping develop it.

“China may face a backlash if there are quality concerns over its vaccines”, said Jennifer Huang Bouey from the Rand Corporation, a think-tank. “It’s a risk China is willing to take given the huge benefits — not only a better narrative of global health leadership but also to open up new markets for China.”

In China, four experimental vaccines made by three companies — Sinovac Biotech, Sinopharm and CanSino Biologics — are in urgent use while clinical testing continues.

CanSino became the first Chinese firm to test a vaccine candidate on humans in March of this year.

According to South China Morning Post, CanSino Biologics chose middle and lower-income countries over Western nations to test the effectiveness and safety of its novel coronavirus vaccine candidate as it expected the rich countries to easily cope with the disease that has infected more than 44 million people globally, its chairman said.

CanSino said in early September that it would conduct a phase-three clinical trial of its Ad5-nCoV vaccine candidate on some 40,000 participants in Russia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Mexico.

China aspires to be a global vaccine supplier with four Chinese products now in phase 3 trials, the final stage intended to ensure safety and effectiveness before approval for public use.

According to estimates from Essence Securities, a Chinese brokerage, if Chinese vaccine makers captured just 15 percent of the market in middle and low-income countries that could mean total sales of nearly Rmb19bn ($2.8bn).

The vaccine contest now in the world is much like a war game. Some of the world’s richest financiers and tech giants have joined the game for economic gains instead of the well-being of the general public.

Let’s look back at China.

Hundreds of people have been queueing in the city of Yiwu in eastern China in recent days to get an experimental vaccine for COVID-19. Although the vaccine is yet to complete its clinical trials, it was reportedly given to hundreds of thousands of people in the past few months, and is now being offered under an emergency use licence to the general public.

“Offering an experimental vaccine without definitive evidence of safety and effectiveness currently represents a substantial danger to the people of China,” said Howard Koh, who was assistant secretary of health under President Barack Obama and is now a professor of public health at Harvard University.

In China, only Zhejiang province is officially providing the vaccine to the public now, although discreet urgent-use distribution is underway across the country. Access will be formally expanded to high-risk groups nationwide as early as December, China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Chief Biosafety Scientist Wu Guizhen told state television last week.

The development of a coronavirus vaccine and making it a cure is factually an illusion. It is like building a house in the air.

While Communist China’s strategy is widely criticized by public health experts in the West, the fight for a vaccine is a contest that the Trump administration finds itself not to lose.

With 8.8 million infections and more than 226,000 deaths by the end of last week, the US has failed largely to control the pandemic.

Although President Donald Trump has repeatedly told that a vaccine is going to be out in a “couple of months” if not weeks and he is going to make it available free to all Americans, the progress seems to be much slower than the President thinks.

Leaders of President Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed” are making confident and bold predictions about distributing a coronavirus vaccine early next year.

“The key distinction between China’s vaccines and those produced by Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, and other US and European companies is that China’s treatments are all state-backed,” said Misha Ketchell.

For example, US-based Pfizer, one of the front-runners in the race to commercialize a vaccine against Covid-19 in collaboration with Germany-based BioNTech, on Tuesday said it plans to apply for emergency-use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration next month, once safety milestones are achieved.

“Once a vaccine candidate is authorized, we are in a position to quickly deliver 100 million doses, with hundreds of millions of doses following shortly thereafter,” said a White House Statement.

But many Americans say they won’t immediately take them.

An Ipsos survey shows that globally, only 37 percent strongly agreed to a vaccine, whereas 64 percent of Brazilian and 59 percent of Australian adults surveyed strongly agreed. In China, this figure was only 38 percent.

The key reasons for declining a vaccine were worries about side effects (46 percent), doubt about its effectiveness (24 percent), the perception of not being sufficiently at risk from COVID-19 (18 percent), and general opposition to vaccines (18 percent).

These people are right in their logic of common sense.

Even though this coronavirus is cured, the CCP might create and release another virus as it has determined to weaken America and dominate the world.

Without taking down the CCP, this global Covid crisis shall never end.

By Cloudy Seagail

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