These Vaccinated States of America: Donald Trump social-distances himself from global vaccine cooperation

May 18, 2020

2 min read

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What's going on here?

With the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the US has spent millions of dollars on experimental vaccines, even though they are yet to pass testing stages.

What does this mean?

Moderna has become the first company to begin vaccine trials on humans with a small group of approximately 105 people. A $483m donation has been given to Moderna by the US government’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to increase the production of vaccines and accelerate testing. This donation is more than what has been provided to any other vaccine company in the US. Most companies have estimated that vaccines will be available for 2021, whereas Stephane Bansel (Moderna CEO) announced that the company would be able to move into phase 2 of trials within the next few months.

What's the big picture effect?

International leaders have all taken different approaches to treating COVID-19 with a combination of research, cooperation and espionage, but the US has opted for a much riskier strategy. The US government has provided large investments to experimental vaccines as the technology employed by Moderna is unproven at the moment. At a White House briefing recently, Trump spoke of his own rather unusual COVID-19 remedies which included injecting disinfectant and exposing those infected to strong ultraviolet lights (both of which we DO NOT advise you to try at home). The race to find a vaccine has produced a great deal of competition between pharmaceutical companies within the US and investors are keenly watching. 

Where other global leaders have pledged to work together on a vaccine by sharing research and treatments, Donald Trump has decidedly isolated himself from this cooperation. The UK is optimistic about the partnership between AstraZeneca (a Cambridge pharmaceutical company) and Oxford University. Currently, the potential vaccine is still in the first phase of trials and is being tested on over 1,100 volunteers. 

However, private security firms have reported that other nations are working to steal research and treatment information. Reports have emerged that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security are accumulating information to be presented surrounding Chinese hackers stealing vaccine data from the US. South Korea and Vietnam have also been reportedly launching cyberattacks and hacking strategies. Cyberattacks in the form of scams have also increased with COVID-19 (to see our article on this, click here). 

With over 4m global cases it is crucial that vaccines become readily available soon, but some countries are clearly attempting to use controversial tactics in order to reach a vaccine quicker. Will fortune favour the brave, or will cheaters prosper?

Report written by Sophie Hardava

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