Two prominent voices on health issues in the United States are expressing skepticism over Russian President Valdimir Putin’s claim that his country was the first to develop a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine. Putin’s assertion on Tuesday raised immediate doubts about the science and security behind the alleged achievement.
Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Tuesday that he hopes Moscow has “indeed definitively proven that the vaccine is safe and effective. I seriously doubt they have it. fact.”
Fauci added that the United States was working on “half a dozen or more vaccines. So if we wanted to risk hurting a lot of people or giving them something that didn’t work, we could start doing it. , you know, then week if we wanted to. But that’s not how it works. “
Fauci made the remarks during an introductory interview for Stopping Pandemics, an exclusive event scheduled to air on August 13 via National Geographic.
Separately, US Secretary of Health Alex Azar said during a visit to Taiwan on Wednesday that the push to develop a COVID-19 vaccine is “not a race to be the first.”
Azar said the United States was combining the powers of its government, economy and biopharmaceutical industry to “deliver as quickly as possible for the benefit of American citizens, but also for the people of the world, safe and effective vaccines. “.
He said the United States has secured a state-of-the-art manufacturing contract for a vaccine under development by the Moderna company and has supply agreements with five other companies that have vaccines in development.
He pointed out that four of the six contracted companies have reported test results showing they produce more antibodies against the virus than people who survived COVID-19, without serious side effects.
Azar said vaccine candidates from two companies entered the third phase of trials as the Russian vaccine was just entering that stage without any information being released.
He said the US process should result in the production of a “benchmark, safe and effective vaccine” available in tens of millions of doses by the end of the year.
But Russian Health Minister Mikhail on Wednesday said accusations that the Russian vaccine is dangerous are unfounded and come from competition, Russian news agency Interfax reported, according to the Reuters news service.
And a Chinese official criticized Azar on Wednesday for visiting Taiwan amid an ongoing pandemic in his country, accusing him of putting politics before the lives of the American people.
The comments came a day after Azar accused China of failing to warn the rest of the world about the coronavirus.