Disinfo: Trying to catch up with Russia, the West lost another round in fight against pandemic

Summary

When Russian specialists presented the world’s first coronavirus vaccine, Western politicians attacked them with criticism. They accused Russia of being too hasty, pushing their own pharmaceutical companies along the way. This led to an unexpected result. Contrary to criticism and ostentatious scepticism, the vaccine has shown good results. This cannot be said about the developments of Western scientists. The Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, from which the US has already pre-ordered the vaccine, was forced to stop testing its drug. One of the test participants developed a “potentially unexplained” illness, the company said.

Disproof

The recently developed pro-Kremlin narrative about Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V. The article referred to "The Lancet" magazine, where the results of tests of the Russian vaccine were published. Russian authors of the article in "The Lancet" wrote about phase 1/2 non-randomised studies at hospitals in Russia, and claimed that "the heterologous vaccine based on rAd26-S and rAd5-S is safe, well tolerated, and does not cause serious adverse events in healthy adult volunteers. The vaccine is highly immunogenic and induces strong humoral and cellular immune responses in 100% of healthy adult volunteers." However, at the same time, the other article in "The Lancet" about the Russian vaccine said that even after publication of the results of phase 1/2, it is not enough for approving the vaccine on a large scale.

"For regulators such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency, however, data on immune response alone would not generally be an adequate basis for approving a vaccine. Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London (London, UK), explains that 'immune response might not be directly proportional to the degree of protection—you can only find this out in large-scale trials'," writes "The Lancet".

Regarding AstraZeneca, the company said it voluntarily paused trials to allow an independent committee to review safety data and it was working to expedite the review to minimise any potential impact on the trial timeline. "This is a routine action which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials," the company said in an emailed statement to Reuters. At the moment, researchers are testing 37 vaccines in clinical trials on humans, and at least 91 preclinical vaccines are under active investigation in animals.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 211
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 09/09/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: EU, US, Russia
  • Keywords: coronavirus, vaccination, West
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Navalny is an agent of the Russian special services

Russian opposition blogger Alexei Navalny works for the Kremlin, causing confusion and vacillation in the ranks of anti-government forces. That is why Navalny always manages to get away with it, and the criminal cases initiated against him do not end with the liberal’s imprisonment.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the Navalny poisoning. Anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny has long been the most prominent face of Russian opposition to President Vladimir Putin. His candidacy in the 2018 presidential election was banned by authorities over his conviction by a Russian court of embezzlement, which bars him from running for office. He has been arrested and imprisoned several times during his political career.

On August 20 the prominent Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny fell ill during a flight and the plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Omsk, where doctors said that he was in a coma and that they were trying to save his life. Since then he has been transferred to Berlin and is receiving treatment at Berlin's Charite Hospital. On September 3, 2020, the German government published a statement that described how a military laboratory, certified by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), had found traces of the Novichok nerve agent in samples taken from Navalny. Later, German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a special briefing. She told reporters that “There is unequivocal proof of the presence of this agent in the samples. It is therefore clear that Alexei Navalny is the victim of a crime.” The German government has briefed its allies in the European Union and NATO and plans to provide information about its findings to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The European Union condemned the poisoning of Alexei Navalny in the strongest possible terms. Read similar cases claiming that the US hopes that the Navalny case will lead to the cancellation of Nord Stream 2, that the West will falsely accuse Russia of poisoning Navalny, as with Skripal and Litvinenko and that the West has an interest in the death of Navalny to launch a new wave of sanctions against Russia.

The Western hysteria about Russia is part of a desire to attack Russia 

All the hysteria about Russia in recent years directly illustrates one thing: the main target of the attacks is Russia itself. Its sovereignty and existence. The West’s reaction to Navalny’s “poisoning” speaks of a strategic decision to confront Russia. It’s nothing more than a puzzle in a big, sinister game. This is a clear desire, outside of control, to inflict irreparable cultural and economic damage to the Russian nation. The strength of this desire is indescribable.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory presented without evidence, which is consistent with the Kremlin propaganda narrative that the poisoning of Russian opposition leader is in the interest of the West to use the case against Russia. See similar disinformation narratives that the West has an interest in the death of Navalny to launch a new wave of sanctions against Russia and West will falsely accuse Russia of poisoning Navalny, as with Skripal and Litvinenko. The doctors of the Berlin Charité Hospital did announce that initial findings point to the poisoning of the Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny. The article is also consistent with a disinformation narrative about Russophobia and the constant 'attempts' to encircle Russia as well as about Western belligerence towards Russia.

Kyiv doesn't recognise the Luhansk and Donetsk People's Republics as Ukrainian territory

By banning elections in the Donbas, the authorities in Kyiv recognised that the Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics are not part of Ukrainian territory.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine. On 25 October 2020, Ukraine will hold the country’s first nationwide local elections since completion of the initial phase of far-reaching decentralisation reforms launched in April 2014. The Central Electoral Commission of Ukraine has decided not to conduct elections in 18 communities of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions (in government-controlled areas). The reason for this is the letters from temporary Military-Civil Administrations (MCAs) and security recommendations from Ukraine’s Joint Forces Operation (JFO) headquarters in the Donbas. Ukraine hasn't recognised the so-called DPR and LNR as independent states separate from Ukrainian territory. These are parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions that are part of Ukraine but controlled by Russia-backed armed formations. Not a single country has recognised them as independent entities. Read similar cases: "The DNR and LNR gained independence from Ukraine", "Kyiv does not want rebel-held territories to rejoin Ukraine".