The UK Daily Mail is reporting that the Chinese ambassador to London has been ‘censored’ by his own embassy, after he claimed his country had produced a vaccine that was poised for distribution among a large population.

Liu Xiaoming stunned a meeting of British business figures by saying China was ‘advanced in terms of research on a vaccine’.

He added: ‘We are at the fourth phase of the process. We want to make this available to the world.’

Representatives from international drugs companies who were participating in the ‘webinar’ were astonished by the comments.

Phase four of a vaccine trial means it is ready to be rolled out to the wider population.

More succinctly, phase IV of vaccine development happens after the vaccine has been licensed and introduced into use. Also called post-marketing surveillance, and this particular stage aims to detect rare adverse effects as well as to assess long term efficacy.

After several inquiries about the ambassador’s initial remarks, the transcripts of the interview were altered.

Beijing is sensitive to suggestions that it might be further ahead than Western countries in the search for a vaccine because it deliberately delayed telling the world the full extent of the virus’s spread in Wuhan at the end of 2019.

But when this newspaper approached the Chinese embassy about the ambassador’s remarks – in English, and clearly audible on a recording heard by The Mail on Sunday – the diplomats sent us a link to their own transcript, which had altered his words to ‘second phase’….

Phase two of a vaccine trial is when it is still being tested on humans.

The ambassador’s claims are being met with some concerns that China will attempt to use the vaccine as “leverage” against other countries.

… Tory MP Tobias Ellwood warned the Chinese Communist Party could use the vaccine as a “leverage”.

He tweeted: “I predicted this. China will leverage vaccine rollout to further its global political influence.”

Whether the vaccine’s status is Phase Two or Phase Four, it is clear China is racing to beat the United States at vaccine development. Reports indicate the nation will begin human testing in September, even if clinical trials have not been completed.

China may deploy coronavirus vaccines as early as September to at-risk groups even if clinical trials have yet to be completed.

In the latest sign it is ramping up competition with the US to produce a global cure, health officials are drafting guidelines for administering vaccines under testing to priority groups, such as medical personnel.

China has five vaccines in phase II human trials – more than any other country. Vaccines can take years to develop, though authorities are keen to pull ahead as global competition heats up to find a solution for a disease devastating the world, infecting 6.6 million people and killing nearly 400,000.

The Daily Mail is also reporting that there is fresh evidence that China covered-up news about how lethal and contagious the coronavirus was early in the outbreak’s history.

Samples taken from sick patients and analysed by at least five laboratories had confirmed the existence of a lethal new coronavirus before China told global health authorities about an infectious disease that it claimed was unidentified.

The reports obtained by The Mail on Sunday reveal that one team even found the virus was ‘clearly contagious’ while others had unravelled its genetic composition – vital for developing diagnostic tests and vaccines.

Yet it took a further ten days for officials to admit there was a novel coronavirus and three weeks before Beijing confirmed on January 20 that it was spread by humans.

‘China knew the new virus was prevalent last December but failed to inform the public or share with the international community,’ said Lianchao Han, a pro-democracy activist. ‘Its irresponsibility has probably worsened this pandemic.’

The revelations are contained in a long investigation by Caixin, an independent media group.

 

 
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