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Yesterday, reports emerged that a coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford appeared safe to use in humans. More importantly, it was found to trigger an immune response. Just over 1,000 people were involved in the trials.
It showed the injection led to them making antibodies and T-cells that can fight coronavirus.
Although the findings are promising, it is still too soon to know whether the vaccine offers enough protection.
Larger trials are currently under way.
The UK has already ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine.
Other countries have also started to buy shares in companies that produce ingredients thought to be vital in producing a vaccine.
Germany has paid €300million for a 23 percent stake in CureVac, a company which is working on a vaccine for COVID-19.
That particular move followed the US’ attempts to acquire a stake in the company.
US president Donald Trump has bought up an entire supply of remdesivir, an antiviral drug that shortens hospital stays for COVID-19 patients.
The European Commission has said it is working at full capacity to overcome the pandemic, “every day matters,” it said on securing a vaccine.
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The Commission’s president, Ursula von der Leyen, last month stressed the importance of “universal and affordable access to vaccines”.
She said this was especially important in regards to the most vulnerable countries who “struggle to secure enough vaccines for their people on the global market”.
Ms Von der Leyen has made clear her main priority in finding a vaccine.
She has previously said that life will only return to normal once one becomes widely available.
Her calls appear to have acted as a springboard for governments to intervene in the lucrative pharmaceutical industry.
Her words haven’t stalled the free market, however.
Private companies are already racing to secure significant shares in vaccine procures.
The British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) bought a 10 percent stake in German-based CureVac.
CureVac’s multiple deals could eventually be worth more than £800million, according to The Guardian.
Buying shares and securing deals isn’t something new in the world of virus vaccinations.
In 2009, pharmaceutical companies raced to find a vaccine for the N1H1 Swine Flu.
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According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) at the time, N1H1 was sweeping the globe.
It led the health outfit to declare a pandemic level 6, the highest possible alert.
An inquiry into the WHO’s handling of the pandemic was launched by Wolfgang Wodarg, a former delegate to the European Council, in the years following.
At a council meeting, Mr Wodarg declared that “all the business deals that had been prepared between individual countries and the pharmaceutical companies were about to be triggered by the WHO”.
He added: “The relevant contracts were mostly confidential and the companies insist they should never be published.”
During the 2018 documentary ‘TrustWHO’ filmmaker Lillian Franck revealed how several European countries had signed up to vaccines even before the Swine Flu incident.
She said: “Many countries including Germany, Italy, France and Great Britain concluded secret agreements with pharmaceutical companies before the Swine Flu incident which obliged them to purchase Swine Flu vaccinations.
“But only if the WHO issued a pandemic level 6 alert.”
Months after these agreements were secured, the WHO raised the pandemic to level 6.
During Mr Wodarg’s inquiry, he claimed to have procured evidence that suggested the WHO had overstated the pandemic’s threat.
He also drew attention to the money involved in the transactions in securing the vaccine.
He said: “According to analysts, the WHO initiated spending on health measures of around $18billion worldwide.”
When Ms Franck interviewed Mr Wodarg during the documentary, he claimed that the secret agreements were a result of overspending and a subsequent fabrication of a pandemic.
He said: “GSK, Novartis, Sanofi – they had all launched new production programs to produce the vaccine for this pandemic.
“They had all made agreements with nation states.
“And since they had invested so much in this but couldn’t sell the vaccine because there was no pandemic and no sign of a flu outbreak, they fabricated a pandemic.”
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