Is Russia winning the race for a COVID-19 vaccine?

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit Avila (The Freeman) - August 14, 2020 - 12:00am

Let’s face it, people are agog that Russia President Vladimir Putin announced last Tuesday that Russia has developed the first vaccine against the coronavirus. Russia’s pioneer vaccine candidate developed by Gamaleya Institute is listed as being in Phase 1, according to the latest draft landscape of COVID-19 vaccines published by the World Health Organization (WHO). What is even more wonderful is that Pres. Putin has agreed to help the Philippines in getting this vaccine, which Russia would give for free.

This Russian vaccine dubbed “Sputnik V” after the Soviet satellite allegedly conferred “sustainable immunity” against the novel coronavirus. We know for a fact that before the Russian announcement, none of the coronavirus vaccines under development has proved its efficacy yet in clinical trials, however at least 5.7 billion doses have been pre-ordered around the world.

Meanwhile, a close competitor of Russia, Oxford University, is also working with the Swedish-British pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca, which hopes to have results by September while the US biotech company Moderna, partnering with the US National Institutes of Health, is aiming for the end of the year, possibly November before the US presidential elections. This was announced by US President Donald Trump who launched “Operation Warp Speed” in a bid to develop, manufacture, and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine to all Americans by January 2021.

As hundreds of research laboratories around the world race to develop a vaccine, manufacturers have received financing. Most western nations funded many of these pharmaceutical laboratories with a deal that their nation would be prioritized when the vaccine is finally found.

Also happening in the US, a $1.5-billion contract with US biotech company Moderna for 100 million doses of its eventual coronavirus vaccine is now on its final phase of trials. In fact, US Pres. Donald Trump said, “I’m pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement with Moderna to manufacture and deliver 100 million doses of their coronavirus vaccine candidate. We’re on track to rapidly produce 100 million doses as soon as the vaccine is approved, and up to 500 million shortly thereafter, so we’ll have 600 million doses.” So we are really nearing the end of this virus!

Incidentally, I have sensitive information from a friend, who has a Filipino relative working with Moderna, that they are on the final stages of their trials, and that he believes that Pres. Trump will only announce its approval a few weeks before the presidential elections. As we all know, due to the political climate in the US today, a drug known as hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), which has been used to combat malaria was earlier announced by Pres. Trump. Unfortunately the US mainstream media who are against Pres. Trump scoffed at this news and declared this drug no good.

In addition to the Moderna contract, the Trump administration has already ordered hundreds of millions of vaccine doses from Johnson & Johnson, Novavax, Pfizer, Sanofi, and AstraZeneca. Meanwhile, the United States Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar cautioned against a new Russian-made COVID-19 vaccine for lack of transparency in clinical trials. He added that the COVID-19 vaccine “Is not a race to be first.” True!

Apparently, scientists and public health officials are skeptical about the safety and effectiveness of Russia’s coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik-V, because of the lack of information. To be totally honest about this statement, let’s face it, Russia and America aren’t really the best of friends and naturally their scientists are wary of giving out information that can be copied by western pharmaceutical companies. So the best way to find out the effectivity of the Russia vaccine is to try it out when they deliver it here.

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I read the news report that our senators have urged the Department of Education to postpone the opening of classes on August 24, as Metro Manila and nearby provinces are still under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ). As we all know that Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease reimposed the MECQ in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal for another two weeks – from August 4 to 18 following the surge of positive cases of COVID-19. Okay, so will the president postpone the opening of school?

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