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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

China races to find vaccine for the world

by our Asian affairs correspondent

CHINESE laboratories are working day and night to develop a coronavirus vaccine and when they do, they will share it with all the peoples of the world. People’s China has five potential vaccines in clinical trials in the race to find a way to stop the plague that has killed hundreds of thousands of people across the world.

China is leading the global race in the development of a coronavirus vaccine. Half of the vaccines that have already gone into clinical trials were discovered by Chinese companies.

The big pharmaceutical corporations in the imperialist heartlands hope to make billions out of a COVID-19 vaccine but the people’s government in China say their research will be for the “global public good”. Whilst China shared the genome sequence information on the coronavirus in a timely manner, US imperialism has concealed their research into coronavirus vaccines and President Donald Trump says he would use US vaccines as a strategic asset.

Over 86,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, but Trump has tried to divert attention away from his own incompetence by blaming China and the World Health Organisation (WHO) for alleged lack of transparency despite the fact that China and the WHO did their best to warn the Americans of the dire situation.

Trump and his cronies are linking the origin of the virus with a lab in Wuhan, although Washington’s own intelligence agencies and medical experts reject this ridiculous conspiracy theory. They even try to drag in others to extort so-called compensation from China over the outbreak whilst refusing to join international efforts to cope with the pandemic.

Washington has withheld funding to the WHO, the United Nation’s body that has been working around the clock to bring countries together over the crisis. No US representative showed up at the European Union COVID-19 online pledging conference that aimed to raise funds for the joint development of vaccines against the lethal pathogen.

But Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to make any COVID-19 vaccine universally available once it’s developed. During a video address to the World Health Assembly, the governing body of the Geneva-based WHO, on Monday, Xi Jinping said: “After the research and development of China’s coronavirus vaccine is completed and it is put into use, it will be made a global public good.” This move would be China’s contribution to achieving accessibility and affordability of a vaccine in developing countries as well, Xi said.

“In China, after making painstaking efforts and enormous sacrifice, we have turned the tide on the virus and protected the life and health of our people,” Xi Jinping told the Assembly. “All along, we have acted with openness, transparency and responsibility.”

Xi called for greater international co-operation in fighting the pandemic. He also said China will provide $2 billion over two years to support the fight. China has sent more than 20 medical expert teams overseas, provided much-needed anti-virus supplies to over 150 countries and international organisations, and donated a total of $50 million to the WHO to support its response to the pandemic.

Zhang Xiaolian, a research fellow in immunology from the Wuhan University School of Basic Medical Sciences, said this shows China’s general attitude of not seeing profits as a priority but that China intends to serve the global community in the face of the public health crisis. China will not use any vaccine as a private asset but will share with the rest of the world, especially developing countries that are struggling to combat the coronavirus.