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Russian Covid-19 Vaccine Vindicated Despite Western ‘Pandemic’ of Russophobia

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Maybe after the novel coronavirus is eradicated, scientists should next work on a serum that immunizes people from irrational Russophobia.

In a stunning success this week, the Russian-made Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine was proven to be highly effective and safe. In a study published by the prestigious Lancet medical journal, the Russian vaccine was found to be effective against 91.6 per cent of symptomatic Covid-19 cases.

Sputnik V was originally given approval by the Russian government in August 2020, making it the first officially registered novel coronavirus vaccine in the world. It is currently approved for use in 15 countries around the world, from Asia to the Americas, and therefore is very much a vital tool in the battle against the global pandemic. After the latest published results, dozens more countries are lining up to receive the Russian vaccine.

There are currently three other vaccines to have cleared large-scale testing which have been produced by American and British-Swedish companies: Moderna, Pfizer-Biontech and AstraZeneca. But Sputnik V differs in its molecular technology of virus delivery at the human cellular level. That difference appears to endow certain key advantages.

Manufactured by the Gamaleya Institute in Moscow and funded by the Russian government, Sputnik V has shown superior immunological performance compared with its Western counterparts. It is cheaper to produce and does not require sub-zero temperatures for storage. That makes the vaccine easier to transport and distribute which is crucial for the eradication of the pandemic. Moreover, Sputnik V has been shown to generate a high immune response in all age groups, particularly in cases with severe symptoms, and it is safe to administer with only minor side-effects.

As Kirill Dmitriev, the chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, noted on the Lancet study affirming Sputnik V’s success, “it is a vaccine for all mankind”.

The stellar achievement is a tribute to the excellence of Russian science and should be roundly applauded across the world. As the name suggests, the medical achievement is akin to the space technology breakthrough made by Russian scientists when they launched the very first satellite into the Earth’s orbit back in 1957. That was back in the deep Cold War years between the West and the Soviet Union. Geopolitics overshadowed that brilliant success of Russian scientists.

In a not dissimilar way, geopolitics are also overshadowing the present innovation with the Sputnik V vaccine. Let’s be clear, the geopolitics of prejudice, bias, suspicion, envy, hostility and Russophobia are stemming from the Western side, as they did back in the Cold War.

Until the Lancet study was published this week, there was hardly any Western media coverage on the development of the Russian vaccine. Hence there is a sense of surprise over its confirmed success. Where there was some earlier Western media coverage, the tenor of reports was generally pejorative, claiming that the Russian vaccine was unsafe and that Russian authorities were being reckless in their haste to win “a vaccine race”. The double standards employed are brazen. Western authorities have also given emergency approval for their vaccines.

The fact is all of humanity is faced with a grave challenge to defeat the coronavirus pandemic. The race is not between nations, but rather to roll out effective vaccines for the whole world. That requires cooperation and pooling of resources in a collective effort. That, in turn, requires fraternal respect between nations and discarding of politicized prejudices and phobias.

Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is a remarkable breakthrough in the fight against the global pandemic. It should be embraced by all nations to work in concert with other effective vaccines in order to meet the demand for public health. The European Union currently is in turmoil over the lack of supply to meet its vaccination plan. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other European politicians have backed the use of Russia’s Sputnik V. And so they should. Why should there be even hesitation?

The problem is Western governments and media are hampered in their effort to defeat the pandemic because of their own pathological geopolitics of Russophobia. As in the Cold War against the Soviet Union, Russia is invariably cast as “malign” and “evil”. It is always racked by Western double standards. For example, the American and British governments persecute and torture the ethical journalist Julian Assange without a hue and cry in the media, yet when Russia jails a convicted blogger Alexei Navalny for fraud and parole violation there is a furore and flurry of condemnatory headlines in Western media.

This is nothing but full-blown symptoms of Russophobia. And this viral mentality has an obstructive impact on fighting the global coronavirus pandemic.

Maybe after the novel coronavirus is eradicated, scientists should next work on a serum that immunizes people from irrational Russophobia.

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