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Race for COVID vaccine takes on political dimensions to echo technological dominance

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Washington D.C., June 4 — : The race among countries to develop a safe and effective vaccine that could fight the novel coronavirus infection has taken on political dimensions to echo technological dominance, whereby the winning nation could get a jump-start on protecting its citizens and restarting its economy first.

The Washington Post said in an analysis that the nation which produces the first safe and effective vaccine will gain not only bragging rights but also a fast track to putting its people back to work, a powerful public health tool to protect its citizens and a precious resource to reward allies.

It can be assessed that with testing underway on five experimental vaccines in China and four in the United States, the race to produce a vaccine for COVID-19 has taken on political dimensions that echo jockeying for technological dominance during the Cold War, including the space race after the launch of Sputnik in 1957.

“The vaccine is partly about health, but it’s absolutely equally as much about getting our engine of productivity back,” Lawrence Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University Law Center, told the Post.

“If China had it and we didn’t, their economy could hum, and ours would continue to be in social distancing lockdowns and disruptions. This has economic, political and public health consequences,” he added.

In an election year in the United States, the prospect of a successful vaccine by year’s end could also be a potent campaign tool.

In mid-March, when the United States launched human testing of its first experimental coronavirus vaccine, scientists in China on the same day announced their own trial would begin. Days after a company unveiled the partial data from the first US human tests last month, a complete report of the Chinese trial was published in a prestigious medical journal.

Both countries are also taking huge financial risks to scale up production of possible vaccines before they know any are safe and effective — a gambit to ensure their citizens won’t have to wait. The nation’s top infectious disease expert said the US will manufacture 100 million doses by year’s end.

“We’re going to start manufacturing doses of the vaccines way before we even know that the vaccine works,” Anthony S. Fauci said in an interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association then.

Scientists see the race as one in which academic research groups, companies and countries are working in rare unity against a common enemy — the virus. But health policy experts already see “vaccine nationalism” creeping in.

On Friday, Trump announced he would terminate the United States’ relationship with the World Health Organisation, which he accused of misleading the world about the coronavirus at the urging of the Chinese government. The United States skipped an international pledging conference in early May that put billions toward developing a vaccine for the world.

“Within China, the issue of the vaccine has taken on a symbol of whether China is going to be the leading power in the world,” said Bonnie Glaser, director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Political leaders criticised for their handling of the pandemic and eager to notch a win have already begun securing doses for their own citizens — as the United States did in making a USD1.2 billion investment to secure 300 million doses of a vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

The first 100 million doses have been committed to the United Kingdom. Companies are spreading their manufacturing plants across multiple countries, partial protection against the possibility that any nation prohibits exports.

Who gets the vaccine first matters not just for national pride but because that country’s citizens will almost certainly get first access to limited doses — even if the virus is raging in another part of the world.For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at contentservices@htlive.com
Asian News International

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Indian Politics

Global Coronavirus Death Toll Crosses 400,000

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Maryland, June 7 — : More than 4,00,000 people have died globally due to coronavirus and 69,16,233 people have been infected with the virus till now.

As per the latest Johns Hopkins University’s tally, 4,00,135 people have succumbed to the disease so far.

Till now, the US has reported the maximum number of coronavirus cases and deaths. As many as 1,920,061 COVID-19 cases and 1,09,802 deaths have been reported in the US.

Brazil has confirmed that 6,72,846 people have tested positive and 35,930 people have died due to COVID-19.

Similarly, Russia and the UK have reported 4,67,073 and 2,86,295 cases until now. With 40,548, the United Kingdon has reported the second-highest deaths due to coronavirus.

Meanwhile, India has surpassed the COVID tally of Spain and Italy. With 2,47,678 cases, India has become the fifth country in the list of coronavirus affected countries.

Asian News International

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Asia Pacific

India, China Border Meeting Inconclusive; Military & Diplomatic Engagements To Continue: MEA

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After Lieutenant General-level border talks between India and China ended inconclusively, India on Sunday said that New Delhi and Beijing have decided to continue the military and diplomatic engagements to resolve the situation and to ensure peace and tranquillity in the border areas of Eastern Ladakh.

“A meeting was held between the Corps Commander based in Leh and the Chinese Commander on June 6 in the Chushul-Moldo region. It took place in a cordial and positive atmosphere,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.

India and China have agreed to peacefully resolve the situation in the border areas in accordance with various bilateral agreements and keeping in view the agreement between the leaders that peace and tranquillity in the border regions are essential for the overall development of bilateral relations, it added.

According to the MEA, both sides have also noted that this year marked the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries and agreed that an early resolution would contribute to the further development of the relationship.

Saturday’s meeting between senior officials of the Indian Army and the Peoples Liberation Army, China lasted for almost six hours to resolve over a month-long stalemate along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.

As per sources in the defence establishment, the Indian side had pressed for restoration of status quo ante as it was existing before May 5 and pull up of heavy build-up along the LAC and follow agreements, protocols and laid down drills relating to maintaining ‘peace and tranquillity’ along the LAC and for the conduct of soldiers.

The Indian side was led by Leh-based 14 Corps Commander Lt General Harinder Singh while the Chinese delegation was led by South Xinjiang Military Commander Maj Gen Lin Liu at Moldo BPM point on the Chinese side, some 200 km south-east of Leh.

The meeting started around 1130 hrs, it had a break for lunch around 1430 hrs and resumed afterwards. Officials in Delhi said the meeting was on till 1900 hrs.

The two countries had held around a dozen meetings between commanders at the level of Major General and Brigadier had not succeeded, before the top commanders level.

UNI

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Indian Politics

Kashmir News: Massive CASO launched by security forces in Pulwama

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Security forces launched massive Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) on Sunday at two places in south Kashmir district of Pulwama, where two Over Ground Workers (OGWs) were arrested and three youths were prevented from joining militancy on Saturday, official sources said.

They said following a tip-off about the presence of militants, Special Operation Group (SOG) of Jammu and Kashmir police, CRPF and Rashtriya Rifles (RR) launched a joint search operation at Gasoo and Wasu in Pulwama early this morning.

All exit points were sealed by the security forces, they said adding later house to house search was launched at both the places. However, so far no contact was established with the militants, they said adding the operation was going on when the reports last came in.

Security forces and police in a joint operation on Saturday arrested two OGWs in Pulwama. Three youths were arrested before they could join the militant group. Later, they were handed over to their family members after their proper counselling, they said.

UNI

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