FILE PHOTO: A scientist prepares samples during the research and development of a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a laboratory of BIOCAD biotechnology company in Saint Petersburg, Russia June 11, 2020. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov/File Photo

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

Russia became the first nation in the world to register a COVID-19 vaccine as skeptics sneered as if President Vladimir Putin was a man selling tonic in the Wild West. Putin, however, remained undeterred despite the vaccine forgoing crucial trials, stating that his own daughter took the vaccine and “feels well” after acquiring a fever from a dose. 

Critics warned that Russia’s vaccine, named Sputnik-V after the first surprise launch of the 1957 Soviet Union satellite that shocked the U.S. and kicked off the space race, had yet to go through any kind of Phase 3 trials that would administer the vaccine to thousands of people. Russia released no data on the vaccine’s effectiveness.

Even so, the leader of the fund paying for the research said more than a billion doses were requested from more than 20 countries. Russia said it was already prepared to manufacture more than 500 million doses a year and hoped to increase capacity soon.

But releasing the vaccine without the trials could be devastating, Imperial College London immunology professor Danny Altmann said in a statement Tuesday. “The collateral damage from release of any vaccine that was less than safe and effective would exacerbate our current problems insurmountably,” he said. 

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Why you should be skeptical of Russia’s coronavirus vaccine claims – Axios – 8/11/2020
Scientists around the world are skeptical about Russia’s claims. There is no published scientific data to back up Putin’s claims that Russia has a viable vaccine — or that it produces any sort of immunity without significant side effects. 

Trump unloads in morning interviews as U.S. struggles to tame virus – Politico – 8/11/2020
President Donald Trump let loose in a pair of lengthy radio interviews Tuesday morning, weighing in on foreign affairs and cultural flashpoints while continuing to speak dismissively of the rampant coronavirus threat. 

The U.S. should not be hoarding all its COVID-19 research – Jacobin Magazine – 8/11/2020
The fact that the United States is recusing itself from pretty much all global cooperation in the search for a coronavirus vaccine does not bode well for equitable distribution of a cure.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

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