A virus knows no borders

Only through global collaboration can we get rid of Covid-19

21 July 2021 | Tony Pun* CCCA (Image: Hakan Nural)

According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report, Covid-19 global excess mortality, 1.18 million Covid-19 reported deaths were reported in 2020, however, the WHO estimates a mortality of a least 3 million. For details of how these figures are arrived at please consult the WHO reference. 

WHO figures for the American region and European regions have been compiled but the data from the rest of the world is still pending. 

Another source of global morbidity figures for Covid-19 is a database maintained at Wikipedia. As of 21 July 2021, it puts the total number of worldwide infections at 191million global infected with 4.1 million.

In terms of infections, the top five nations are the United States, India, Brazil, Russia and France. For deaths the rankings are the United States, Brazil, India, Mexico and Peru.

Examining these figures gives an overall picture that Covid-19 is here to stay for another few years and lockdowns will be a way of life for many countries if they want to survive the pandemics.  

The current Cold War between US and China is not conducive to the collaboration needed to fight this global pandemic together. The soured relations on all fronts include the politicization of the Covid-19 vaccine, with the west trying hard to label the Chinese vaccine inferior and accompanied by vast of amount of propaganda and counterclaims of the efficacy of the vaccine produced. 

It comes down to this, vaccines produced in western nations versus those produced in China and Russia. This type of unhealthy rivalry is also driven by the success of China sharing its vaccines with the third world countries whilst, in some quarters US pharmaceutical companies have been accused of supplying the vaccine on a profit basis.

Unless the reader is exposed to counter arguments from both sides, it would be difficult to judge what is fact and what is fake news 

From the west, we present an article about the efficacy and effective of Covid-19 vaccines from, the prestigious UK medical journal, The Lancet.  

Approximately 96 COVID-19 vaccines are at various stages of clinical development. 

At present, we have the interim results of four studies published in scientific journals (on the Pfizer–BioNTech BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine.  the Moderna–US National Institutes of Health [NIH] mRNA-1273 vaccine,  the AstraZeneca–Oxford ChAdOx1 nCov-19 vaccine, and the Gamaleya GamCovidVac [Sputnik V] vaccine) and three studies through the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) briefing documents (on the Pfizer–BioNTech, Moderna–NIH, and Johnson & Johnson [J&J] Ad26.COV2.S vaccines). 

In response to the challenged efficacy claims by the West, an balanced view of the vaccine debate can be found in a CNN report “Why Covid-19 outbreaks in countries using Chinese vaccines don’t necessarily mean the shots have failed”, by Julia Hollingsworth, Saruul Enkhbold and Amy Sood.

“If we want to bring down the severe cases (and) the number of deaths, the Sinopharm, Sinovac can help” Professor Jin Dong-yan, Virologist, Hong Kong University.

“We cannot differentiate between Covid-19 vaccines, saying this one is bad or that one is good.” Enkhsaihan Lkhagvasuren, Mongolian Ministry of Health. 

For those countries who are least able to afford the expensive western produced vaccine, the next best thing is the Chinese vaccine.  Half a loaf is better than no bread. 

Finally, I wish to share with you a video from a Chinese born Harvard Professor, now Prof of Beijing University, his passionate plea for world collaboration, not only Covid-19 pandemic research but all-important research that can benefit all mankind on earth – climate change being a good example. His research on the creation of plasma antibodies to fight diseases will be earth shattering if successful, he says, “the virus knows no borders neither should our fight against it.”

*Dr. Tony Pun OAM is the former chief scientist at St. Vincent’s Hospital Sydney.

This commentary is supplied by the Chinese Community Council of Australia Incorporated: Founding President, Dr Anthony Pun OAM, President, Mr Kingsley Liu. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors.

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