The Race to a Vaccine Ignites A Cold War-Type Era with Russia


2021-03-16 23:30:08 BioSpace


Jeremy Levin, chairman of the global Biotechnology Innovation Organization. The COVID-19 pandemic is not only an international health crisis, but a burgeoning geopolitical exercise for Russia to win the hearts and minds of a large portion of the world while undermining the West. “This is a prime example of vaccine nationalism,” Jeremy Levin, chairman of the global Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), told BioSpace. The results could have significant consequences for Western nations and their pharmaceutical industries for decades. Russia’s concerted disinformation campaign is a case in point. While usually not false, the information is sensationalized, according to the Alliance for Securing Democracy. The website for the EU delegation to Azerbaijan lists key instances of Russian disinformation, grouped largely into the categories of conspiracy theories related to big pharma, Bill Gates and the deep state, Russian superiority, vaccine ineffectiveness, and Western discrediting of the Russian vaccine. The comments have been linked to four sites frequently used by Russian intelligence. “By manipulating data, Russian intelligence agencies are putting the global battle against COVID at risk,” Levin said. “Worse yet, establishing websites to promote false information about the data from Pfizer and Moderna will put millions at risk and prolong the pandemic. The only beneficiary of Russia’s disinformation is the COVID-19 virus.” “The Kremlin has decided to send out disinformation at a time when unity is required. This is part of Russia’s overall foreign policy,” Levin said. “Russia’s long-term foreign policy has been to fragment the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the EU.” In the past, Russia attempted fragmentation through oil and gas policies. For example, in January 2009, it suddenly cut gas exports to Europe by 60%, leaving six nations without gas during a bitter winter. Now, it’s using vaccines as a wedge between countries. Because of the current vaccine disinformation campaign, issues related to vaccines are being exacerbated. The campaign is getting results, too, as another BioSpace article details. “You see political fragmentation in the E.U., where various member states – notably Italy – want to administer the Sputnik V vaccine instead of the AstraZeneca vaccine.” “It isn’t a question of risk/benefit,” Levin said. “That will be determine by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). I was delighted to see the data that seems to show comparable efficacy of Sputnik V with that of other vaccines.” Levin’s complaint is that disinformation harms the biopharma industry’s reputation and throws doubt onto the safety and efficacy of highly effective vaccines, thus undermining the public’s confidence not only in the vaccine but in medical experts. Pfizer’s vaccine is a prime target, but AstraZeneca is being pulled into the fray, too. Several nations have voiced concerns about its use in certain age groups. This week, nearly a dozen European nations suspended administration of the AstraZeneca shots after reports from Denmark and Norway that it caused blood clots. AstraZeneca, the EMA and the World Health Organization each said the clots do not appear to have been caused by the vaccine. The concern, Levin said, is that those issues are being amplified by parties that are not privy to the scientific data. “The real data is in the hands of AstraZeneca and has been made public, but there is a tremendous level of disinformation designed to make it difficult for the public to understand the merits of one vaccine,” Levin said. This benefits the West’s foes in two ways: it sows dissention among NATO allies and provides Russia’s $1.5 trillion economy with much-needed cash. “Russia’s economy depends on an economic relaunch, which was harmed by the depression in oil prices and the COVID downturn,” Levin noted. (Russia’s oil and gas industry lost 70% of its value when oil prices dropped from $70 to $20 per barrel.) “If it can displace competitors’ sales, it can get those sales for itself. This is an intricate set of processes underpinned by a sophisticated disinformation program.” The goal, Levin said, is to displace America and advance its own foreign policy by “deepening the divides in Western societies. Estonia’s foreign intelligence agency reported last year that the Kremlin predicted the pandemic would force all Western nations to focus on internal issues,” and that nationalism would arise. “That’s happened.” Biotech companies aren’t looking the other way, but “…they are focusing on science and medicine,” Levin said. “The role of the biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industry is to generate top quality medicines based on science and medicine and supported by rigorous regulatory review and approval. The industry will continue to do just that: deliver science, medicine, quality, and therapeutic excellence. It is deeply disappointing that the Russian government is using its organs of state to try to undermine these principles.” That leaves the U.S. response to the government. The Biden Administration has vowed “to fight (disinformation) with every tool we have,” according to a widely-quoted press briefing by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. “I believe you will see an unprecedented investment…a $1 billion investment… in vaccine information,” Levin predicted. “This is an unfortunate, unnecessary moment of attack,” Levin continued. Viruses don’t know borders. If people stop being vaccinated, they allow the virus to develop a safe haven, which allows more variants to be generated, thus extending the pandemic. Most Read Today
全球生物技术创新组织主席杰里米·莱文。 新冠肺炎疫情不仅是一场国际卫生危机,也是一场新兴的地缘政治演习,俄罗斯希望在打击西方的同时赢得世界大部分国家的民心。 “这是疫苗民族主义的一个典型例子,”全球生物技术创新组织(BIO)主席杰里米·莱文告诉《生物空间》。这一结果可能对西方国家及其制药业产生数十年的重大影响。 俄罗斯协调一致的造谣运动就是一个很好的例子。据保障民主联盟称,虽然这些信息通常不是虚假的,但却是耸人听闻的。 欧盟驻阿塞拜疆代表团的网站列出了俄罗斯造谣的主要事例,主要分为与大型制药公司有关的阴谋论、比尔·盖茨和深层国家、俄罗斯优势、疫苗无效以及西方对俄罗斯疫苗的抹黑。这些评论与俄罗斯情报部门经常使用的四个网站有联系。 “通过操纵数据,俄罗斯情报机构正在将全球打击COVID的战斗置于危险境地,”莱文说。“更糟糕的是,建立网站宣传有关辉瑞和Moderna数据的虚假信息将使数百万人处于危险之中,并延长流行病的蔓延。俄罗斯造谣的唯一受益者是新冠病毒。“ “克里姆林宫决定在需要团结的时候发出假消息。这是俄罗斯总体外交政策的一部分,“列文说。“俄罗斯的长期外交政策一直是使北大西洋公约组织(NATO)和欧盟四分五裂。” 过去,俄罗斯试图通过油气政策实现碎片化。例如,2009年1月,中国突然将对欧洲的天然气出口削减了60%,导致六个国家在一个严冬期间没有天然气供应。现在,它正在使用疫苗作为国家间的楔子。 由于目前的疫苗造谣运动,与疫苗有关的问题正在加剧。正如另一篇《生物空间》文章所详述的那样,这项运动也正在取得成果。“你可以看到欧盟的政治分裂,各个成员国--尤其是义大利--想要管理“卫星-V”疫苗,而不是阿斯利康疫苗。” “这不是一个风险/收益的问题,”莱文说。“这将由欧洲药品管理局(EMA)确定。我很高兴看到数据显示Sputnik V与其他疫苗的效力相当。“ 莱文的抱怨是,虚假信息损害了生物制药行业的声誉,并使人对高效疫苗的安全性和有效性产生怀疑,从而破坏了公众不仅对疫苗,而且对医学专家的信心。 辉瑞的疫苗是一个主要目标,但阿斯利康也被卷入了这场争斗。 几个国家对某些年龄组的使用表示关切。本周,在丹麦和挪威报道阿斯利康引起血凝块后,近12个欧洲国家暂停了阿斯利康的使用。阿斯利康、EMA和世界卫生组织均表示,凝块似乎不是由疫苗引起的。 Levin说,令人担心的是,那些不了解科学数据的缔约方正在放大这些问题。 “真正的数据掌握在阿斯利康手中,并已公之于众,但存在着大量的虚假信息,使公众难以理解一种疫苗的优点,”Levin说。 这在两个方面使西方的敌人受益:一是在北约盟国之间挑拨离间,二是为俄罗斯1.5万亿美元的经济提供了急需的现金。 列文指出:“俄罗斯的经济依赖于经济的重新启动,而经济的重新启动受到了石油价格的低迷和COVID低迷的损害。”(当油价从每桶70美元跌至20美元时,俄罗斯的石油和天然气行业损失了70%的价值。)“如果它能取代竞争对手的销售,它就能为自己获得这些销售。这是一套错综复杂的过程,背后有一个复杂的造谣程序。“ 莱文说,其目标是取代美国,通过“加深西方社会的分歧”来推进美国自己的外交政策。爱沙尼亚对外情报局去年报告说,克里姆林宫预测疫情将迫使所有西方国家关注国内问题,“民族主义将会出现”。“那是发生过的。” 生物技术公司并没有另眼相看,而是“……他们专注于科学和医学,”莱文说。“生物技术和生物制药行业的作用是在科学和医学的基础上,在严格的监管审查和批准的支持下,生产出高质量的药品。该行业将继续这样做:提供科学、医学、质量和治疗的卓越。令人深感失望的是,俄罗斯政府正在利用其国家机关试图破坏这些原则。“ 这就把美国的反应留给了政府。白宫新闻秘书珍·帕萨基在一份被广泛引用的新闻简报中说,拜登政府誓言“用我们所拥有的一切工具打击(虚假信息)”。 “我相信你会看到一项史无前例的投资……一项10亿美元的投资……在疫苗信息方面,”莱文预测道。 “这是一个不幸的、不必要的进攻时刻,”莱文继续说道。 病毒不分边界。如果人们停止接种疫苗,他们就允许病毒发展出一个安全的避风港,这就允许产生更多的变种,从而延长大流行。 今天阅读最多的