China to develop COVID-19 vaccine as global public good, reflects nation's intl generosity: analysts

By GT staff reporters Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/19 15:18:40

A staff member displays samples of the COVID-19 inactivated vaccine at Sinovac Biotech Ltd., in Beijing, capital of China, March 16, 2020. Photo: Xinhua

China has announced the country will promote the development of a COVID-19 vaccine as a global public good when it becomes available, which experts said reflects China's resolution and generosity in serving the international community, while some European companies and the US seek to use vaccines to pursue their own interests. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday announced the country will make COVID-19 vaccine a global public good when available as he addressed the opening of the 73rd session of the World Health Assembly via video link.

China would also provide $2 billion over two years to help with the COVID-19 response and with economic and social development in affected countries, especially developing countries, according to Xinhua.

Zhang Xiaolian, a research fellow on immunology from the Wuhan University School of Basic Medical Sciences, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the keynote speech mentioning the coronavirus vaccine as a global public good shows China's general attitude of not seeing profits as a priority, but that China intends to serve the global community in the face of the public health crisis. 

China will not use any vaccine as a private asset but will share with the rest of the world, especially developing countries which are struggling to combat the virus, Zhang said. 

Nigeria's Ambassador to China, Baba Ahmad Jidda, agreed that China and Africa can collaborate in developing a COVID-19 vaccine. 

China has already taken on the responsibility and African medical personnel can also share opinions and experiences in the process of getting a vaccine, the ambassador said during an exclusive interview with the Global Times on Tuesday.

He noted that China has already made significant progress in the clinical trials of potential COVID-19 vaccines, which would be of tremendous benefit not only to Chinese citizens but also to the global community.

According to a report from the World Health Organization released on May 15, there are a total of 118 COVID-19 vaccine candidates in development, with eight entering clinical trials, four of which are from China. 

Wu Yuanbin, an official from the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, said at a press conference on Tuesday that China's four inactivated #COVID19 vaccine candidates are in clinical trials, and another adenovirus vector candidate has already concluded phase 1 and 2 vaccination with an evaluation of the phase 1 trial result.

American drug maker Moderna Monday also released positive interim clinical data of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate it developed as the vaccine elicited neutralizing antibodies in eight of the 45 participants in phase 1 trials. 

"Dozens of companies and institutes around the world are developing COVID-19 vaccine candidates, and data of such research and the vaccines, when available, should be shared among the whole of humanity rather than being used to compete," Yang Ximing, chairman of the China National Biotec Group (CNBG), was quoted as saying in a report in on May 14.

CNBG has two COVID-19 vaccine candidates in phase two clinical trials, which have been proven safe. According to Yang, CNBG is communicating with other countries, where the epidemic is still serious, to cooperate on phase three clinical trials.

However, China's generous gesture has been twisted by some Western media as part of an effort to defuse criticism of the Chinese government's response to the pandemic. Chinese analysts slammed such twisted remarks noting that, in contrary to China's generosity, some European companies and the US are actually the ones that use vaccines as strategic assets to pursue profits.  

French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi is facing condemnation after announcing it will give priority to the US in using their vaccines when available. 

Oxford University had also reached agreement with Swedish drug maker Astrazeneca to give priority to increasing production capacity for Britain on a vaccine they developed, according to media reports.

US President Donald Trump also revealed he would use vaccines as a strategic asset. 

While China shared the genome sequence information on the novel coronavirus in a timely manner, the US concealed their research into vaccines. 

Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations at the China Foreign Affairs University, warned that by using vaccines as a strategic asset, the Trump administration may further hinder the global effort in dealing with the virus, as the US could be reluctant to share its research and development with the world.

Posted in: DIPLOMACY

blog comments powered by Disqus