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US official cautions over China, Russia virus vaccines as race heats up

US official cautions over China, Russia virus vaccines as race heats up

AFP
Washington
America’s top infectious diseases official has raised concerns over COVID-19 vaccines being developed by China and Russia as the world scrambles for answers to a pandemic the WHO warned will be felt for decades.
Six months after the World Health Organization declared a global emergency, the novel coronavirus has killed more than 680,000 people and infected more than 17.5 million.
Several Chinese companies are at the forefront of the race to develop a vaccine to the disease and Russia has set a target date of September to roll out its own medicine.
But US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said it was unlikely his country would use any vaccine developed in either country, where regulatory systems are far more opaque than they are in the West.
“I do hope that the Chinese and the Russians are actually testing the vaccine before they are administering the vaccine to anyone,” he told a US Congressional hearing on Friday.
“Claims of having a vaccine ready to distribute before you do testing, I think, is problematic, at best.”
As part of its own ‘Operation Warp Speed’, the US government will pay pharma giants Sanofi and GSK up to $2.1 billion for the development of COVID-19 vaccine, the companies said.
Meanwhile, jobless Americans were bracing for an end to extra unemployment payments after Congress failed to reach a deal on extending benefits. A day earlier, the US posted a record second-quarter GDP drop of 9.5 percent.

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