Spies for the Russian government “stole” the United Kingdom’s covid-19 vaccine formula to develop its own vaccine, Sputnik V, according to a new report from the UK’s Sun newspaper. The short report, which is opaquely sourced to unnamed British officials, claims a Russian agent obtained the information “in person.”
“Russia stole the formula for the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab and used it to help create its own vaccine, ministers have been told,” the new report from the Sun claims. “Security services say they have proof one of Vladimir Putin’s spies swiped the vital data.”
The report never goes into more detail about the alleged espionage, aside from noting an older report that Russian hackers tried to obtain information about vaccines from western companies in 2020. And the report never explains why the “theft” of information about a vaccine might be a bad thing, since the pandemic isn’t really over until the entire world gets vaccinated at a sufficiently high level, according to the World Health Organisation.
When the pandemic first erupted in 2020, the global consensus seemed to be that getting covid-19 under control was far more important than corporate secrecy in the pharmaceutical industry. Big Pharma obviously thinks differently.
The UK covid-19 vaccine, developed through a partnership between the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, has been deployed in over 100 countries to combat the pandemic and is both safe and effective. AstraZeneca, unlike Pfizer and Moderna, is also selling the vaccine at cost rather than for a profit.
The AstraZeneca jab is one of the most widely deployed vaccines in the world thanks to the fact that it doesn’t require deep freeze storage temperatures like the Pfizer vaccine. Roughly 3 billion doses of AstraZeneca will have been administered by the end of this year, according to the drug company.
Russia’s vaccine, Sputnik V, has been deployed in over 60 countries and has shown to be both safe and effective at preventing symptomatic disease. But the World Health Organisation has yet to give its stamp of approval to the Sputnik vaccine, leading wealthy Russians to seek out western versions that will allow them to travel more freely internationally. The European Medicines Agency also hasn’t recognised the Sputnik shot, meaning many Russians who’ve been vaccinated with the shot can’t travel to Europe.
Russia has struggled with its vaccine rollout domestically and has fully vaccinated just 31% of its population. And the country has seen a huge uptick in cases recently with daily case numbers reaching levels not seen since December of 2020. Russia reported over 27,000 new cases of covid-19 on Sunday and 949 new deaths from the disease.
Why would anyone be bothered when a country “steals” health care information with the sole aim of making their population healthier? Because the New Cold War demands constant conflict. And even in the face of a continuing health crisis that has the potential to infect millions more, the New Cold Warriors only see winners and losers.
Russia didn’t steal any nuclear codes. They stole, allegedly, some information on how to make a vaccine to end a once-in-a-century pandemic. And anyone who thinks that’s a negative thing may want reassess their priorities.