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Coronavirus vaccine race should put saving lives first

Source: International Communication Center for Science & Technology| 2020-05-06 17:18:13| Author: Lu Zijian, Fang Linlin & China.org

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A worker of CNBG is testing the illuminance in the workshop where the inactivated vaccine is being tested.(Photo by Zhang Yuwei, Xinhua News)


Wall Street Journal published an opinion article on April 27 stating that, while China's vaccine development is making rapid progress, "America needs to win the coronavirus vaccine race."

The vaccine is considered the most powerful weapon to defeat the coronavirus. Scientists worldwide are racing against time to develop the vaccine.

On March 16, the U.S. announced that a nucleic acid vaccine began clinical trials. On the same day, Chen Wei, a top epidemiologist and virologist with China's Academy of Military Medical Sciences, was authorized to start a clinical trial with an adenovirus vector vaccine, and injected it into the body of a volunteer for the first time. At the end of March, Israel announced breakthroughs in developing vaccines and will soon begin animal testing. In early April, U.S. researchers carried out a patch vaccine test in animals. On April 28, the fourth vaccine in China officially went into clinical trials.

The race to develop the vaccine raised concerns of the WSJ article's author, former U.S. FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb. He wrote that the FDA should cooperate with corporations to begin safety tests at the early stage to save time, while carrying out vaccine assessment and animal tests in the laboratory at the same time. The article said the first nation to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 could have an economic advantage, and thus will be the first to restore its economy and global influence.

I think the article's perspective of “whoever gets the vaccine gets the world” stands at a low position.

The pandemic is spreading worldwide, and has become a global issue beyond a specific country or region. Countries around the world should work together to push for the development of vaccines and let them benefit the whole world. The success in developing vaccines should not be narrowly connected with national competition and economic recovery.

China is a forerunner in developing the vaccine, which relies on its strong leadership and solidarity in the fight against the virus.

With coordinated efforts by scientific researchers in different sectors, China has promoted information sharing and joint experiments, moving the development of multiple vaccines toward a new stage. At the same time, companies specialized in vaccine R&D also played a part. In the early stage of the outbreak in China, China CDC reached a consensus with some corporations on joint efforts to invest in vaccine R&D, which ensured large-scale productivity of vaccines at a later time. Moreover, many volunteers have also taken part in clinical trials, thus providing ample samples for vaccine R&D, and helping to reduce errors.

China has always upheld the concept of international cooperation, which won recognition from the WHO and the international scientific community.

When a seminar on global research and innovation on COVID-19 was held in early February, the WHO called on the international community to join the formulation of the "scientific research roadmap" for COVID-19, so as to promote the process of diagnosis, treatment, and vaccine development. In mid-April, an expert group made up of more than 120 scientists, physicians, sponsors, and manufacturers from around the world publicly announced that they are committed to joining efforts to speed up the development of vaccines under the WHO coordination.

China has always stuck to the concept of building the community of a shared future for mankind, which is also practiced by Chinese scientists when they are endeavoring to develop the vaccine. No matter which country wins the race, the country should shoulder the responsibility of getting people's life back on track. Tracing the origin and saving lives are the real motivation behind the development, and also the original aspiration and mission for the global scientific community to move forward together.

(You can also read this at: http://www.china.org.cn.osb38.com/china/special_coverage/2020-05/06/content_76011049.htm)

Editor:Lu Zijian

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