BEIJING (AP) – The head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that when it is approved it has been injected with an experimental coronavirus vaccine in an attempt to convince the public to follow suit.
“I’m going to reveal some undercover: I’m injected with one of the vaccines,” Gao Fu said in a webinar Sunday hosted by Alibaba Health, a Chinese e-commerce giant and an American publisher of Cell Press An American publisher’s scientific journals. “I hope it works.”
The Associated Press reported earlier this month A state-owned Chinese company injected staff with experimental shots in March, even before the government-approved test in people – a move that raised ethical concerns among some experts.
Gao did not state when or how he took the vaccine candidate, it is unclear whether he was injected as part of a government-approved test. He did not respond to requests for comment.
This claim underscores the huge stakes that China already competes with US and British companies with a vaccine to help end the epidemic – a feat that would be both a scientific and political victory.
China has positioned itself as a strong contender. Eight of the nearly two dozen potential vaccines at various stages of human testing worldwide are from China, the most of any country.
Gao refuses, stating which vaccines he has been given, stating that he does not want to do “any kind of publicity” for a particular company.
Last month, Gao offered a candidate on paper, a “dormant” vaccine created by growing the entire virus in a lab and then killing it. That candidate is being developed by an affiliate of state-owned SinoPharm.
The company previously said in an online post that 30 employees, including top executives, had helped their vaccines “pre-test” in March, before it was approved for its initial human study. Scientists debate such self-experimentation, because what happens to one or a few people outside of a well-designed study is not usable evidence of safety or effectiveness.
Chinese state media has also reported Vaccine injections are being given to employees of government companies going abroad.
Gao said he injected the vaccine to establish public confidence, particularly amid a tide of growing mistrust that has fueled conspiracy theories and attacks on scientists.
“Everyone has doubts about the new coronovirus vaccine,” Gao said. “As a scientist, you want to be brave. … Even if we did not do this, how can we vaccinate the whole world – all people, the public?
Andrew Renkamp, an editor at SAIL and one of Gao’s webinars moderators, said, “It’s a matter of bravery to do this, and it reflects his belief that he believes the safety of the vaccine and the science Their commitment and public health. ”
Even though China is one of the leading leaders in the global vaccine race, it is also trying to reverse years of drug scandals – the latest coming in 2018 when officials recalled a rabies vaccine and later a diphtheria Batches of DPT vaccines, Pertussis and Tetanus, were ineffective.
Gao himself was also under heavy scrutiny both at home and abroad to deal with the outbreak of coronovirus from the China CDC. He went missing for months in public, resurfaced in an interview with state media end of April.
Recently, Gao has been involved in research on coronovirus.
As vaccine research continues, China’s CDC is now looking at potential vaccination programs, trying to find out whether children, the elderly or health workers are given priority.
Gau’s revelations occur at a time of geopolitical tension arising from the outbreak. Beijing’s delay in warning the public And release data at the beginning of the outbreak Contributed significantly to the spread of coronaviruses, while President Donald Trump and other US politicians have made the unfounded claim that the virus survived a laboratory in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where it was first detected.
The tension has reached a point where it is now disrupting research, causing frustration among scientists working with Chinese colleagues. The Trump administration has moved to withdraw the US from the World Health Organization, And has cut funding for research initiatives studying coronavirus in China.
Gao repeatedly said in his lecture that he wanted more cooperation between the US and China, also appealing for unity in relations between Beijing and Washington..
“We don’t want to separate China and the US scientifically,” said Gao. “We have to work together.”