Russia offered help with coronavirus vaccine, US declined: report
Russia offered to help the U.S. with the coronavirus vaccine, but the U.S. declined, Russian officials told CNN Thursday.
Russian officials told the network that they proposed “unprecedented cooperation” with the U.S.’s Operation Warp Speed, the initiative to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. But the Russian officials said the “U.S. is not currently open” to their assistance.
“There is a general sense of mistrust of Russia on the American side and we believe that technologies — including vaccine, testing and treatments — are not being adopted in US because of that mistrust,” a senior Russian official told CNN.
U.S. officials told CNN that Russia’s vaccine is not considered to be well-developed, with one American public health official saying, “There’s no way in hell the US tries this (Russian vaccine) on monkeys, let alone people.”
The report comes after Russia announced Tuesday that it had created a COVID-19 vaccine and Russian President Vladimir Putin said his daughter had taken it.
Russian officials told CNN that the country remains willing to give information about the vaccine and permit U.S. pharmaceutical companies to develop it. Some American firms are interested in the vaccine, but their names have not been released, according to the news source.
The Russian officials said the U.S. should “seriously consider adopting” the vaccine named Sputnik V.
“If our vaccine proves to be one of the most effective, questions will be asked why the US did not explore this option any deeper, why politics got in way of access to a vaccine,” one senior Russian official told the network.
Experts have expressed doubts about the effectiveness of Russia’s vaccine as the country has not released its testing data and made the vaccine available before completing the third phase of testing, which was slated to begin Wednesday.
Still, Russia reports at least 20 countries in Latin America, the Middle East and Asia have said they are interested in the vaccine.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Thursday the president was briefed on the vaccine but said that U.S. vaccines go through “rigorous” testing.
A senior American official and adviser to the government told CNN the U.S. does not have any procured samples of the Russia vaccine.
“They have enough disease now in Russia that they could conduct clinical trials but they don’t appear to have done that at a large enough scale,” the adviser said. “There have been no trials of this vaccine. They’ve done too little work on humans to decide if it works on a larger scale. We’re talking totally inadequate safety data.”