Infectologist Anthony Fauci, an American health advisor, expressed concern about the safety of vaccines against covid-19 that are under development in China and Russia.
A number of Chinese companies are taking part in the race to create and approve a vaccine, while Russia said it hopes to be the first country to produce a vaccine for the public, with the expectation of making it available in September.
But these vaccines are likely to face a higher standard for approval, as regulatory systems for vaccine validation are much simpler in both countries than in the West.
Fauci, asked during a congressional hearing whether the US could use Chinese or Russian vaccines if they were first developed, indicated that this possibility is unlikely. “I hope that the Chinese and the Russians are actually testing the vaccine before actually giving it to someone,” said the infectologist.
“The claims about having a vaccine ready to be distributed before the tests are done are something that, at best, is problematic. We are working very quickly. I do not believe there will be vaccines so far ahead of us that we have to depend. from other countries to get vaccines “, he said.
Last month, the Chinese press announced that a vaccine against the new coronavirus developed by CanSino Biologics was being used to immunize the Chinese Armed Forces – making it the first approved for use by people, albeit in a limited population. Many scientists, however, have raised ethical concerns, as the vaccine has not yet entered the final stages of testing.
– ‘Sputnik moment’? -Two other Chinese companies, Sinovac and Sinopharm, launched the final phase of the three tests in Brazil and the United Arab Emirates, respectively. China, where the virus originated, controlled the pandemic and had to turn to other countries to test its vaccines.
Tests in Brazil and the Emirates will be closely analyzed, given China’s history of vaccines and other health scandals. In 2018, more than 200,000 children received a defective vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (DPT), which caused paralysis in some cases.
Russia, which was already a global vaccine leader in the Soviet period, plans to bring two to the market in September and October, respectively. The first is being developed by the Gamaleya institute, based in Moscow, and the Ministry of Defense, and the second by the state-owned Vektor laboratory.
Russia has not released scientific data to prove the safety or efficacy of these vaccines. However, Kirill Dmitriev, head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund that finances the tests carried out by Gamaleya, told CNN: “It’s the Sputnik moment.”
Three vaccines against the new western coronavirus are in the final stage of the three tests. One is produced by the American modern biotechnology company in partnership with the National Institutes for Health; another is under development by the University of Oxford and the British AstraZeneca; and the last is from the German BioNTech with the American pharmaceutical company Pfizer.
China and Russia are accused of trying to steal Western research on the new coronavirus, a charge denied by both countries.