Russia offers to help US with COVID-19 vaccine. 'No way in hell,' says America

WION Web Team Moscow, Russia Aug 14, 2020, 07.48 AM(IST)

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin Photograph:( Reuters )

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Moreover, according to CNN, a former senior US administration official called the Russian vaccine "a joke," adding that Moscow didn't complete the three phases of testing, and so no one -- not the World Health Organization or the US -- is taking it too seriously.

The race to find an effective coronavirus vaccine has global implications, not just for the health of billions of people, but potential billions in revenue for the successful developer and manufacturer.

It also stands as a potential tool to improve bilateral ties.

To this end, Russia has apparently offered "unprecedented cooperation" with Operation Warp Speed (OWS), the US multi-agency body set up to accelerate access to effective COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. However, the "US is not currently open" to the Russian medical advances.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Thursday that President Donald Trump was briefed on the new Russian vaccine. She, however, said that "but American vaccines go through rigorous Phase 3 testing and high standards".

A Russian official told CNN there is a general sense of mistrust of Russia on the American side. The US officials, on the other hand, say the Russian vaccine is considered so half-baked in the United States that it hadn't even piqued their interest in a serious way before the rollout. 

"There's no way in hell the US tries this (Russian vaccine) on monkeys, let alone people," one US government public health official said, according to CNN.

Russian sources, in response, say Washington should "seriously consider adopting" the vaccine, adding the newly approved Russian coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V, could save American lives.

All this to no avail. 

Moreover, according to CNN, a former senior US administration official called the Russian vaccine "a joke," adding that Moscow didn't complete the three phases of testing, and so no one -- not the World Health Organization or the US -- is taking it too seriously.

They said they believe the only reason Russia is doing this is for leverage -- mostly, in the hope of exchanging it for strategic assets.

Russia announced on Tuesday it had developed a vaccine against the coronavirus and President Vladimir Putin said his own daughter had received it. But tests are yet to be completed and some experts are skeptical about the claims.

Russian officials have said that they are open to share information about the vaccine and that it would allow US pharmaceutical companies to produce the Russian vaccine on American soil.

Russian officials have assured that the coronavirus vaccine will be gradually rolled out to high-risk people before a mass vaccination of its native people begins in October. Russia hasn't released any scientific data on its testing though.