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Kremlin rejects allegations of vaccine disinformation campaign as “circus”



“Commenting on the accusations against Russia is becoming more and more circus,” Peskov said during a telephone conference with journalists on Friday. “Russia does not misinform anyone, Russia is proud to speak of its successes, and Russia shares its successes with the first ever registered [coronavirus] vaccine in the world “.

“We know that Russia has experience in this area. We have previously commented and called on them to do so,” Raab said in an interview with Sky News.

“But anyone who tries to basically sabotage the efforts of those who are trying to create a vaccine, I find deeply reprehensible. This is unacceptable and unjustified under any circumstances.”

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The Times said the “whistleblower” who “participated in the campaign” passed the image to the newspaper out of concern about potential harm to health efforts. The newspaper said it was unclear whether the campaign was directly sanctioned by the Kremlin, but added, “there are reports that some Russian officials were involved in its organization and distribution.”

US authorities investigate whether recently published emails are related to Russia's disinformation efforts against Biden

“Misinformation is an obvious risk to public health. This is especially true in the current pandemic, which continues to claim tens of thousands of lives, significantly disrupting our way of life and harming the economy,” said Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca. statement.

“I urge everyone to use reliable sources of information, to trust regulators and to remember the enormous benefits that vaccines and medicines continue to bring to humanity.”

Misinformation is “careless and contemptuous behavior that can lead to real harm to human health,” said a source in Whitehall, a district in central London, where key UK ministries are located. “Such lies are fundamentally harmful to all of us around the world, and we must be vigilant to detect and counter this activity to support the provision of factual information to all people about Covid-19 and the vaccine.”

Asked to comment on the article, the Kremlin spokesman, in turn, accused Britain of spreading misinformation about the Russian vaccine, suggesting that it was evidence of unfair competition in the vaccine race.

“Russia already has documents of intention to sell or co-produce this vaccine in a number of countries, and, of course, in these countries Russia does not shy away from informing [the public] about the benefits of our vaccine, “Peskov said.” Number [producers] who can be called competitions, it is they who take part in disinformation, disinformers, among other things, sit in the UK. ”

According to the Times, the campaign was aimed at “countries such as India and Brazil, where Russia has tried to sell its own vaccine,” as well as Western countries that are developing their own vaccines. To date, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund (or RDIF), which sponsors the vaccine, has said it has entered into agreements to supply Sputnik V, including to India and Brazil.

RDIF has said it condemns social media attacks on the AstraZeneca vaccine.

“We condemn the social media posts aimed at humiliating the AstraZeneca vaccine described by The Times today. We believe that any attempt to smear any vaccine is wrong, including against the Gammalea Satellite V vaccine,” he said. Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of RDIF, CNN in a statement Friday. “Of course, all vaccines must be the subject of the most rigorous scientific research.”

However, the story of the “monkey vaccine” has already been voiced by Russian officials and state media.

On September 9, after news of a pause in AstraZeneca’s global trials due to an unexplained disease, Dmitry Peskov said the British vaccine was less safe because it was a “monkey vaccine”, while the Russian development was a “human vaccine” and considered “much more reliable”. Russian scientists.

Rough images depicting monkeys with captions such as “Monkey vaccine is good” and similar memes appeared in the Russian state media two days after AstraZeneca announced a pause. On September 10, Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti published an editorial entitled “Why the West Loses the Vaccine Race: Russia Was Exposed,” which contained four cartoons of the English-signed monkey vaccine.

Since then, AstraZeneca has resumed testing in the UK. In the United States, the FDA is considering whether to allow AstraZeneca to reopen a trial after a participant has become ill. The problem is whether the disease was an accident or perhaps related to a vaccine.

The head of the Russian direct investment fund, which sponsors the development of Sputnik V, said in September that the company was “glad” to see that AstraZeneca’s tests were moving forward, but called the approach “unacceptable” because of “excessive use of new untested technologies”, including monkey adenovirus or mRNA technology.

However, in July, RDIF announced that one of its portfolio companies, drug maker R-Pharm, had entered into an agreement with AstraZeneca to produce the Oxford vaccine in Russia. The report came after warnings that Russian-linked entities were trying to break into research centers in Britain, the United States and Canada to gather information about vaccine production. Russia has denied involvement.

Then the head of RDIF Kirill Dmitriev told Reuters that Moscow did not need to steal any secrets, as it already had an agreement with AstraZeneca on the production of a potential British vaccine in Russia.

“The transfer of the cell line and adenoviral vector to Russia has taken place; it is planned to produce antigen and produce ready-made doses,” R-Pharm said in a July statement. “At the same time, Russia will be one of the centers of production and supply of vaccines to international markets.”

Race in the Russian laboratory of vaccines against coronavirus

Asked on Friday whether AstraZeneca’s pause in testing and technology threatens an agreement with the Russian manufacturer, Dmitriev said: “One of our portfolio companies produces the AstraZeneca vaccine. We believe that the adenoviral human approach used by Sputnik V is adenoviral. The chimpanzee vector used by AstraZeneca is a very promising approach based on a solid scientific basis. ”

Gamaleya uses adenoviruses in its Covid-19 vaccines; this is the same approach used in the vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. Adenovirus delivers genetic material for the adhesion protein that is on top of the virus that causes Covid-19, and this genetic material is designed to generate an immune response to the virus.

Adenoviruses can cause a variety of symptoms, including the common cold. Researchers manipulate the virus so that it does not multiply and cause disease.

The Gamalea vaccine is given in two doses, and each dose uses a different adenoviral vector.

Russia registered its first coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V, in August after testing on 76 volunteers and on the eve of a large-scale phase 3 trial. The report provoked a great deal of talk from the Russian state media, but aroused widespread skepticism on the part of the international community about its security and the view that the approval could be rushed for political purposes. According to Russian officials, “Sputnik V” is currently undergoing three stages of trial, which has so far involved 13 thousand people and who want to participate up to 40 thousand.

In August, AstraZeneca launched large-scale phase 3 clinical trials to cover up to 30,000. Such trials are the last step before the vaccine manufacturer seeks approval from regulatory authorities.

Another EpiVacCorona vaccine, developed by the former Vector Biochemical Weapons Laboratory, was registered in Russia this week before the Phase 3 trial. The third potential Russian vaccine from the Chumakov Institute began testing Phase I last week.


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