Coronavirus vaccine wars: US accuses Russian hacker group APT29 of trying to steal data

New DelhiWritten By: Palki SharmaUpdated: Jul 18, 2020, 07:17 AM IST
main img
Representative image Photograph:(Reuters)

Story highlights

America has named one group - cozy bear which is also known as APT29, the same group was implicated in the hacking of the Democratic Party in 2016.

Governments of America, Britain and Canada have accused Russian hackers of trying to steal their coronavirus research. The charge is that Russian hackers tried to steal intelligence from universities, companies and other health care organizations.

America has named one group - cozy bear which is also known as APT29, the same group was implicated in the hacking of the Democratic Party in 2016.

The United States, the United Kingdom and Canada - all three are pointing fingers at Russian spies.

Vaccine research is a top target for spies right now with countries signing blank cheques to get their hands on a vaccine that works but there are attempts to steal it. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that they are trying to get their hands on it.

The United States seems to be a prime target. In May, America had claimed that Iran and China have tried to hack American research but the Trump administration tried to single out China. The US president himself brought it up during a press interaction. 

Clearly, Trump isn’t happy since it is a race against time as everyone wants a vaccine but getting their first has its perks.  Firstly, the country gets to control the global supply and the cost -  it’s an opportunity to make money, and whoever gets there first will have the upper hand on the world stage and that country with the help of allies will pull the adversaries down.

Also,  national pride will be involved and the leader of the country is likely to witness his support swell.

There are 140 vaccines in pre-clinical stage presently. These vaccines are being developed by pharma companies, universities and independent efforts around the world. Pre-clinical stage means that at this stage researchers give the vaccine to animals to see if it triggers an immune response. 

Nineteen vaccines are in Phase-1 of clinical testing which is given to a small group of people. In this phase, researchers see if the vaccine is safe, and the immune response it creates. Eleven vaccines are in Phase-2 which is being administered to hundreds of people. At this stage, researchers learn about the safety of the vaccine and its correct dosage.

As of today, only three vaccines are in Phase 3 with large-scale efficacy trials one step away from final approval. During this stage the vaccine is tested on thousands of people. Researchers test the vaccine for effectiveness including side effects.

Research is being conducted around the world but four countries are the ones to watch out for - in the United States, the Moderna vaccine has entered its final stage of human trials.

In the United Kingdom, Oxford University has initiated human trials of its vaccine. Scientists in Itay have devised five test vaccines with two selected for further trials.

In India, reports say that there are 30 different vaccines under development. The government is putting its weight on Covaxin which is under human trials.