The Daily Dose: Russia approves Phase II COVID-19 vaccine while Philippines’ president volunteers his entire country as their guinea pigs

Russia has announced the approval of a COVID-19 vaccine called Sputnik V. While touting its efficacy and safety, Russian officials glossed over the fact that it has only completed Phase II trials and not Phase III. This is the definition of cutting-corners. Not everyone is pleased. According to Reuters, there is still some consternation about the rushed “approval,” even among Russian scientists. “The Moscow-based Association of Clinical Trials Organizations (ACTO), a trade body representing the world’s top drugmakers in Russia this week urged the health ministry to postpone approval until that final trial had been successfully completed.“ Scientists fear Moscow is putting prestige before safety.

In light of the rushed “approval” of Sputnik V, the Philippines’ president Rodrigo Duterte has volunteered his country to be Phase III guinea pigs for the vaccine. “‘The Philippines stands ready to work with Russia on clinical trials, vaccine supply and production, and other areas deemed practicable by relevant Philippine and Russian agencies to address this global health emergency,’ the Palace said through the Office of the Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs.” Considering the country’s recent experience with a not-ready-for-showtime dengue vaccine (Sanofi’s Dengvaxia) it’s a mind-boggling decision that is more about politics than public health. The United Arab Emirates has also agreed to be guinea pigs.

New Zealand reported its first cluster of COVID-19 cases in 102 days. Meanwhile, the outbreak in Australia’s second-largest city appears to be levelling off, raising hopes that declines may be coming and a lifting of the city’s strict lockdown. The Southasian subcontinent continued to struggle containing it’s massive outbreak. Per the Associated Press, “India reported 53,601 new cases of coronavirus Tuesday as its total infections neared 2.3 million. The Health Ministry also said 871 deaths were newly reported, raising total fatalities to 45,257. India has been posting an average of around 50,000 new cases a day since mid-June. Its total infections are third in the world, behind the United States and Brazil. The three countries account for half of the world’s 20 million cases.”

While Brazil has grappled with its devastating COVID-19 outbreak, the country has continued the break-neck paced pillaging of the Amazon. The process started in earnest with the election of Jair Bolsonaro as president. According to a study published in Science, “Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has risen sharply in the past year—again. Data from Brazil’s Real-time Deforestation Detection System (DETER), set to be released on 7 August, will show clearings have increased by at least 28% during the current monitoring year, which runs from August through July, compared with the previous year.” The loosening of environmental law enforcement means that the Amazon continues to face unprecedented pressure.


IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons

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One comment

  1. Association of Clinical Trials Organizations (ACTO)
    Have you looked at the membership list?
    Easy to see why they object. LOL
    Reuters? 2 x LOL

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