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The Great COVID-19 Vaccine Race: Cooperation as a way to overcome outdated geopolitical dynamics by Edward Thomson

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.

What started in late 2019 as a local epidemic in the City of Wuhan in China, the Coronavirus Disease 2019

(COVID-19), has, in 2020, transformed into a global pandemic which has affected every country in the world, to the point that different measures have been undertaken by almost every nation, in hopes of slowing its spread and reducing mortality. However, these measures have been often carried out in a disorganized manner, illustrating a major lack of preparedness.

While some nations have rushed with the implementation of drastic measures such as movement limitations, closures, and curfews (notably Peru, France, etc.), others have chosen more limited approaches (such as Germany, the United States, Brazil), relying on a mix of individuals or collective responsibilities.

Those actions, often taken with little regard to their effects on countries’ national economies, have polarized all societies, often along the lines of existing divisions within the social and economic fabric. They have transposed the existing geopolitical undercurrents into adversarial standings at the international community level.

In addition, only a few states had programs in place or the infrastructures, personnel, experience and personal protective equipment (PPE) to face the challenges associated with the spread of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a member of the same family as the SARS-CoV, the virus responsible for the SARS outbreak between 2002 and 2004.

Although more time and data will be required to assess the impact of these measures on fight against COVID-19, as well as their possible damage to the society, most will undoubtedly come to agree that, in the long term, those measures are not a viable solution to a problematic that can only be described as one of the greatest calamities of our time, be it by the possible harm done by the virus or by our hysterical response to it.

With the current “second wave” of coronavirus underway, many have come to believe that the fight against this great challenge requires a great champion, in the form of a vaccine. Only then will the international community hopefully feel comfortable enough to let go of confinement strategies and resume trade, travel and allow freedom of movement the way it was pre-COVID-19.

The problem is vaccines are usually time consuming and take many years of development and research before being manufactured for mass distribution. With the ongoing global crisis and the attention of the world turned towards the medical research field, we are observing an accelerated global race with incommensurable efforts being deployed to find “the cure”.

Against all odds, this sprint towards a global solution is currently led, not by the big pharmaceutical companies, but by geopolitical powers, such as Russia, who announced on August 11, 2020, the launch of Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac), the world’s first registered vaccine against COVID-19. Developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow, many major countries such as India, Mexico and Brazil have already secured production rights of the Sputnik V vaccine. This has established Russia as a de facto leader against the proliferation of COVID-19 through an immunological solution.

With the economic backing of Russia, and Phase III trials currently being tested in Venezuela, Sputnik V has the characteristic of a winning recipe, especially in the face of the current commercial failures, marked by predictable novelty errors (untested platforms) and unreasonable delays. As of late, two major commercial vaccine developers had paused their trials: one in September (AstraZeneca) due to a serious neurological illness in a patient, and one in mid-October (Johnson & Johnson) because one of the subjects became ill. One has to wonder if those entities are best suited to be charged with delivering the right solution in the midst of such tragedy.

If the pandemic is as threatening as reported around the globe, one would expect that governments would maximize every resource accordingly. However, by giving such power to commercial entities rather than developing the solution themselves in cooperation with other nations, the leaders of those countries are effectively gambling wiht the length of the pandemic, and its costs to society, in favour of enabling the financial gains and the international prestige of the big pharmas.

The UK’s collaboration with the CIGB regarding the development of an immune enhancer, diagnostic tests for antigen detection, and the use of existing antivirals to treat COVID-19 patients demonstrates the real possibilities of finding a common solution, as opposed to direct competition. After all, as the British Ambassador to Cuba puts it: “Cooperation between countries is essential in responding to the challenges posed by COVID-19”. This is also why the mutual assistance between the Cuban Centre for Neurosciences (CNEURO) and the University College London is also so important. Together, it may lead to an improved treatment of respiratory deficits related to COVID-19, as well as a way to assist in patient recovery by using a non-invasive ventilation method.

It is that form of cooperation among nations that helps create the foundation of a healthy international community and break outdated geopolitical dynamics. On the opposite spectrum, without a clear agenda promoting such solidarity, and keeping vaccines as a common good for the people, we risk being at the mercy of companies that produce a vaccine solution but at what cost? The insulin crisis hitting the U.S. should be a stark reminder that when monetary opportunities arise, it is the government’s responsibility to keep at bay, cash grabbing corporations who present a solution but in the form of a Trojan horse.

This is not a reflection on the scope of the COVID-19 pandemic. Neither is it a comparison of the global and national responses to other viruses or deadly pathogens. It is a discussion on the strategies and the international cooperation to tackle this specific issue in light of the already strained relationships between the leading powers. The dynamics of our responses to this virus could have a significant and positive impact on the confrontational nature of the world order.

The only way to break from the geopolitical race is to address the elephant in the room: the current Westphalian approach to international relations. Then, will the system have the capacities to allow for mutual benefits within a competing framework.


The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.

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December 7, 2020

The plot deepens:

“Sunday with Charles – Bad Lieutenant General with Special Guest Larry Johnson”

Sally Snyder
Sally Snyder
December 7, 2020

As shown in this article, nearly a decade ago, scientists at MIT developed an innovative solution to defeating viruses:

Unfortunately, Big Pharma would not profit from this single cure-all for many of the viruses that plague humanity and it has been put on the back shelf.

December 7, 2020

EverClear is 95% ethyl alcohol. Breath vapors into sinus and lungs…where the virus grows.

December 8, 2020

Quote, “What started in late 2019 as a local epidemic in the City of Wuhan in China, the Coronavirus Disease 2019″ Unquote. I didn’t read any further than this, because the heading displayed right at the outset, the biased view and agenda of the writer. WWe now KNOW, as FACT, this virus was in communities well BEFORE the announcement alleging it’s source as Wuhan. FACTUAL evidance has come forwards to prove the virus was evident in Spain and even Italy, yet the author totally ignores these reports and pushes the U.S. agenda of blaming China. Enough said.

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