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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/9/21

The politics of Covid-19 vaccines

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Message Abdus-Sattar Ghazali
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of October 2020 over 200 COVID-19 vaccines were under development globally. Thanks to the joint efforts of pharmaceutical companies and regulatory bodies, it was possible to develop and authorize several COVID-19 vaccines within a year.

The Pfizer / BioNTech's vaccine was the first to be authorized in the US and Europe to prevent Covid-19 infection. It received emergency use authorization from the British regulatory authority (MHRA) on December 2, and from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on December 11. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) conditional approval came on the 21st of the same month.

Moderna's vaccine obtained emergency use authorization from the FDA on December 18, 2020 while conditional approval from EMA on January 6 and from the UK MHRA on January 8.

The vaccines use different mechanism to treat the Covid-19

Pfizer and its German-based partner BioNTech use a new approach to making vaccines that uses messenger RNA or mRNA. The mRNA-based vaccines use genetic material called messenger RNA, a kind of genetic software that instructs cells to make a piece of the coronavirus spike protein. That will get the attention of the immune system.

Sinovac and Sinopharm: Chinese company Sinovac's CoronaVac uses an inactivated virus -- one of the oldest methods for vaccinating people. Whole batches of coronavirus are grown, "killed" and then made into vaccine. Likewise, Chinese Sinopharm's vaccine in an inactivated virus.

AstraZeneca's vaccine, made with a team at Britain's Oxford University, is called a vector vaccine. It uses a common cold virus called an adenovirus to carry the spike protein from the coronavirus into cells.

Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine is an adenoviral vector vaccine. It uses two common cold viruses called adenovirus 5 and adenovirus 26 to carry the genetic material for the spike protein into the body.

Johnson & Johnson's vaccine: Janssen's coronavirus vaccine is a recombinant vector vaccine. Like AstraZeneca's, it uses an adenovirus but this one does infect humans.

44 countries approve Russia's Sputnik V vaccine

Sputnik V was authorized in 44 countries worldwide as of March 4, 2021, according to

Russia boasts to be the first vaccine against COVID-19.

In August 2020, Russia registered Sputnik V, the world's first approved vaccine against COVID-19, which was developed at Gamaleya Research Institute in Moscow.

As of January 2021, The vaccine was used for vaccination in Russia, Belarus, Serbia. In October 2020, Russia applied for prequalification of Sputnik V at the WHO to speed up its availability worldwide.

Other countries that would produce the vaccine, such as Brazil, China, India, or the Republic of Korea, would also sell it abroad.

Russia sold 100 million doses of Sputnik V to India, which was also among the countries that agreed to produce it on its territory. Indian companies planned to produce 300 million doses of Sputnik V in 2021.

Russia applied for the vaccine approval in the European Union in January, while several EU countries approved its use earlier, such as Hungary or Slovakia. As of January 2021, The vaccine was used for vaccination in Russia, Belarus, Serbia.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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