Covid-19: The politics and the Russian vaccine

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On August 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin, announced that the country has developed the first vaccine against coronavirus. He also said his daughter has been inoculated and she is feeling well. He said COVID-19 vaccine forms stable cell and antibody immunity. “I know this very well, because one of my daughters got vaccinated, so in this sense, she took part in testing.”

In July, the Russian Minister of Healthcare, Mikhail Murashko, in an interview with a local station in Russia, said the vaccine has proven its effectiveness and safety. He said more people are involved and that all the patients that were administered the vaccine have been discharged from the hospital.

“All patients were discharged from the hospital today, and one more vaccine has passed the ethical committee and received approval, now they are obtaining the expert evaluation and clinical trials will also start.”

The minister on Tuesday said the vaccine has gotten regulatory approval in spite being less than two months of testing on humans. But in spite the development and the self-pat at the back, the Russian government are under intense international pressure and criticism over the announcement.

Scientists in some western countries including Germany, France and the United States have urged Russia to adhere to the global best practices in the development of vaccines considering the huge population that would be vaccinated. Unlike drugs that are only administered to sick persons, vaccines are given to general population to prevent a particular ailment. The scientists considering this, urged the Russian government to submit the vaccine for the phase three clinical trials which involves mass testing.

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) also disclosed that it is liaising with the government of Russia to allow a review of the vaccine which is not on the list of vaccines that have reached the phase three clinical testing.

But Russia believes that the skeptical view across the world was more political than logical. The authorities in that country believe that those against the vaccine sensed the competitive advantage it gives Russia and that such opinions are groundless.

The Minister of Health in Germany, Jens Spahn, warned that it is dangerous to begin vaccinating millions due to the fear that it could endanger lives if it goes wrong. He said getting a vaccine is not a race but about safety.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a US virus expert, said he doubt whether Russia has proven the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. “I hope that Russians have actually definitely proven that the vaccine is safe and effective. I seriously doubt that they have done that,” he said.

The cure and vaccine for coronavirus that has infected over20 million people and claimed over 700 thousand death has triggered international politics and also arouse intelligence gathering and espionage.

Last month, the United States and some western countries accused Russia of attempting to steal research works related to coronavirus vaccine. The National Security Agency said a hacking group that were allegedly involved in the break-ins into Democratic Party servers tried to steal intelligence on vaccines from various organisations in the US, UK and Canada.

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The NSA believes that Russia was trying to steal research as part of its desperate race to develop the first vaccine.

Meanwhile, there are already demands for the vaccine that was developed by Gamaleya Institute.

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