By Marcello Ferrada de Noli, Swedish professor emeritus of public health sciences esp. epidemiology, former Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School.
Sputnik V, the Russian vaccine against Covid-19, has been under relentless attacks by Western corporate media. Instead of rallying behind a potentially life-saving shot, some are willing to put the whole of humanity at stake.
Above all, there are two essential principles that regulate the survival of mankind. One is the ontogenetic, related to the survival of the individual, the other is the phylogenetic – connected to the survival of the species. The supreme dialectic of it being that, for the human race to survive, we the individuals have to secure our existence, to strive to keep healthy, to be. The only possible way for future generations to be born and exist is to carry on with that atavism.
A nuclear war using the current nuclear weapons can obliterate most of the human populations. And there are still 35 million tons of uranium left to mine – the equivalent to ten billion Hiroshima bombs. More than enough to wipe Earth clean of human life.
But the same may, theoretically, very well be accomplished by a smart deadly virus.
The Covid-19 pandemic has at present decimated lives and economies in all countries, and its massacre continues unabated. Epidemiology monitors estimate that almost one million (940 thousand) individuals on earth have now perished. Among all European and European-Asian countries, the five with the most deaths per capita are Belgium, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the UK. Covid-19 deaths in Sweden are about five times the death toll in all its Nordic neighboring countries combined.
So far, the only functioning vaccine against an all-out nuclear holocaust has been human intelligence, brainy diplomacy added to strong deterrence, amidst the strive for peaceful coexistence. In the virus battlefront, to this point, the world’s first officially registered (and so far, effective) coronavirus vaccine is the Russian-discovered Sputnik V.
Its closest competitor, the AstraZeneca project AZD1222, has only recently resumed clinical trials in the UK after a patient reported an adverse reaction. However, the US authorities have now put the AstraZeneca clinical trials on hold, including testing among American patients, until an investigation is concluded by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The article in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet, reporting the results of the Sputnik V vaccine, demonstrated that 100 percent of participants in the clinical trials attained a stable humoral and cellular immune response.
There are many economic interests around the UK/Swedish AstraZeneca corporation and their vaccine project. The European Commission has made a down payment of €336 million to acquire 300 million doses of the vaccine – to start with.
And it is not the only pharmaceutical company related to Swedish interests. Novavax, Inc., a US-based company developing a vaccine project, also has facilities in Uppsala, Sweden.
Not surprisingly, the campaign in Sweden against the Sputnik V vaccine has been as forceful as it has been deceiving. In general, the Swedish state media as well as the corporate media (which partly receives financing with public funds), maintains a clear anti-Russian stance. Amina Manzoor, a medical commentator for news outlet Dagens Nyheter (DN), for instance, maintains that “they [the Russians] have no vaccine. It is only propaganda,” but there are no arguments given on the vaccine itself.
And Anna-Lena Lauren, DN’s correspondent in Russia – and who to the best of my knowledge neither has medical nor epidemiological academic education – says to Swedish TV4: “It is very doubtful how effective this vaccine is, and above all, how safe it can be.” In her interview, she mentions President Putin and “Soviet Union” more times than the actual Russian vaccine. The program’s anchor rounds up: “Questions have emerged about this vaccine in the research world. May the vaccine have been approved in Russia for political reasons, a propaganda instrument?”
But if anything is politically biased, it’s those “questions” relentlessly thrown at the Russian vaccine in political and research circles of the West.
The recent open letter of “criticism” from a number of scientists, who sent their reservations to The Lancet, presents no arguments that would invalidate the results of the vaccine. Their issue is with the “presentation of data.”
The “criticism,” widely reported in Western media, was sent by a group led by a US-based Italian researcher. The authors are also mainly Italian doctors, and some professors. One of them, Swedish professor Anders Björkman, is known in the debate for herd immunity.
And contrary to Sweden’s reaction, there are also positive reviews in Western media about Sputnik V. ‘Russian vaccine holds promise and other findings’ writes Medical News Today. ‘Vaccine shows ‘no serious adverse’ effects and creates antibody response’ quotes CNBC in a headline. And even BBC heads a report with ‘Russian vaccine shows signs of immune response’.
For the corporate world in the West, and the governments that represent them, the vaccine issue is a race, a new “cold war”-like confrontation, not about whose technologies would be more advanced for the sake of the health of all, but for the sake of their profits. They are now doing their best to cast unsubstantiated and speculative doubts on Sputnik V. They do it with no consideration of the vast harm this could cause by limiting public access in the nations under their sphere of influence to a potentially life-saving medical tool.
Countries should instead cooperate to decimate this epidemic, all scientific efforts put together to attack a plague killing individuals on Earth independently of race, faith and status. Some states’ selfish stances could end up self-destructive for those same states.
The fact is that the Russian Sputnik V is the closest the world has to a functioning vaccine against Covid-19. To wait too long for cooperation among governments in the implementation of this at-hand vaccination, is to cynically cooperate with the virus. It is to take a cold war against humanity as a whole.