Covid 19 vaccines … a ruthless global economy in peripheral countries :
Since last March, a feverish race and restless work have been launched in most international laboratories and pharmaceutical companies, in order to find an anti-vaccine that saves the world from an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, which prompted the governments of the countries of the world to declare a state of emergency, close borders and prevent gatherings, and also seriously hampered activity. Socio-economic issues around the world, so what the inhabitants of the earth was only clinging to the straw of this hope, which was overcome earlier on the concerns of the geopolitical justice struggle, especially after repeated assurances adopted by the United Nations and the World Health Organization, in order to guarantee the provision of the “salvation vaccine”, before To be shocked by the stone of “speculation, money struggle and power dominance.”
The chapters of the story began when the laboratories of a number of countries, including China, the United States, Russia and Britain, took the initiative to race to develop and produce an anti-Coronavirus vaccine, which has so far caused more than 97 million infections around the world and the death of about 2 million others, by about 150 A project in the world that was launched since the first comprehensive quarantine in the history of mankind last March, and hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and funding were allocated to it.
The last word for scientific research
After a few months, the virus succeeded in imposing its control and sabotaging the economy and life of humanity, approval of 11 of them of different technologies and nationalities to reach the third stage of clinical trials on humans, which somewhat dispelled some of the doubts that surrounded the inhabitants of the planet regarding the efforts of scientific research around the world, especially And that the issue of finding a vaccine for a “strange and unknown” virus of the type Covid 19 belonging to the viral strain arn was “excluded and ambiguous”, because this humanity in the public view, which is trying today to find a vaccine in a few months, had previously failed to come up with a “influenza” vaccine The Spanish “who roamed the world a hundred years ago from today and was of the same ferocity and deadly as Covid 19, before he disappeared of his own volition after the quarrelsome fatigue without the need for a vaccine or medicine, leaving nearly 100 million deaths and a half billion infected with the epidemic.
Among the factors that have contributed to the success of scientific research in providing the Covid 19 vaccine in a period of time not exceeding a year, according to Moroccan experts and professionals, “technological progress during the last two decades, and the importance that scientific research has acquired in a number of countries since a period before the outbreak of the epidemic, as well as pressure. What international public opinion played on governments, due to the social and economic repercussions, and finally the important funds allocated in this area.
Professor Jamal El-Din Bouzidi, in a statement to “Akhbar Al-Youm,” said that “the negative social, economic and psychological effects of the virus have a role in accelerating the pace of work and raising the level of pressure to provide the vaccine in the same year, especially with the concerted efforts between the governments of countries and the injection of very important revenues in The way to salvation, ”adding:“ And the second issue is that it was known in advance that there would be a great demand for this vaccine, which achieved a kind of competition between the laboratories of countries, including countries that are not considered great and that entered the line of competition, such as Brazil, India and others that I tried to produce vaccines alongside Morocco, which has important prospects in this field.
For his part, Professor Al-Mustafa Al-Naji attributed the factors of humanity’s success in reaching vaccines for the Corona virus within a few months to “technological progress”, indicating in this regard that laboratory analyzes that used to take from the world’s time for days or months are now completed in minutes, as well as factors In the event that all the governments of the countries have not historically provided so much funds to more than 200 companies and laboratories, and every country has given all its capabilities in addition to integration between companies, and today we see that 11 of them have reached the stage of industrialization.
There are also other vaccines that will appear in the coming days at competitive prices and other advantages, ”the spokesman says, adding:“ The fourth factor is the efficient human element in this field at the global level, and these countries that provided the vaccine we will notice that they mainly invest about 3 percent of their income in Scientific research is like Japan, the United States and Korea, and this is what made the vaccine develop in a year instead of four or five years.
And the World Health Organization announced last November, that the matter is related to 11 companies that have reached the third and final stage of clinical trials on humans, to reach the vaccine, out of 48 anti-virus vaccines that entered the phase of clinical trials, but they did not reach the important third stage, to obtain The necessary approval to offer it as an official licensed vaccine.
Pfizer is out of reach
It is about the two vaccines of Pfizer and its partner Biontech, and the American company Moderna, which have succeeded in making significant progress using advanced and unprecedented technology and technology, based on pumping mental nanoparticles – mental bubbles – surrounding a strip of genetic material called messenger RNA, and the genetic material carries a blueprint for the spiky protein The distinctive link that binds the surface of the coronavirus. After being injected into the person’s arm, the mental capsule transfers its load to the cells of the body, and the messenger RNA directs those cells to build the spike protein, which effectively teaches the immune system how to recognize the Corona virus and prevent the disease from occurring.
On this basis, the American giant Pfizer and its German partner Biontech presented the results of the third phase of the trials, which show the effectiveness of their vaccines by 95 percent among participants in clinical trials.
According to the manufacturer’s data, the vaccine is taken in two doses, separated by three weeks, and Pfizer and BioNTech are working around the clock to increase production, and unlike its competitors, Pfizer has not joined the government initiative Warp Speed, which aims to eliminate the financial risks of developing vaccines and treatments by providing financing Instead, companies invested two billion dollars of their money in the project, in addition to concluding a contract with the US government to provide 100 million doses, or a total of 458 million euros, or the equivalent of 4 billion and 969 million dirhams that the company reached in the form of Governmental funding and from private parties, to develop this vaccine, which is one of the most famous and largest current vaccines, and it is also the first vaccine to obtain approval by the World Health Organization for use in emergency situations since the start of the outbreak, which encouraged a number of countries to adopt it, including the European Union, After the European Medicines Agency in charge gave the licenseVaccines in the European Union approved this vaccine, which bears the name “BNT162b2,” last December 21.
And the famous Pfizer vaccine, which adopts a technology that is the first of its kind, mainly derived from a vaccine that laboratories have been interested in developing in recent years for cancer diseases. According to what Professor Jamal El-Din Bouzidi confirmed to “Akhbar Al-Youm,” it is a vaccine “not valid for the African human being and his health system, given that it requires a very high degree of cooling and storage exceeding less than 80 degrees below zero to remain valid, which means great material logistical capabilities.
It is very much more expensive than the vaccine itself. “
In his speech, Professor Al-Bouzidi stressed that “a Pfizer vaccine is not generally recommended. From the medical point of view and away from its logistical requirements, one of its disadvantages is that the material approved in it, called messenger RNA, is chemically unstable, and the side effects are long-term and may not appear even beyond 50 percent.
The price of Pfizer in the global vaccine market ranges between 12 and 19 euros, which is approximately 190 Moroccan dirhams per dose, according to information collected by Akhbar Al-Youm from vaccine source companies. However, what is interesting is the discrepancy between the European Union market and the country that manufactures the United States.
The American and then African countries, because the European Union enjoyed a 24 percent discount on the Pfizer vaccine, at a cost not exceeding 12.17 euros per dose, while the price of the same dose in the United States is 16.5 euros, which requires asking questions about the reason for this exceptional treatment and the content of the agreements Held in this regard, bearing in mind that reality and logic dictate that the cost of the European Union is greater because the process of shipping it from one continent to another is greater than its transportation within the same country.
For its part, Israel paid 24.74 euros for a dose of Pfizer, that is, a price doubled compared to the country of manufacturing, so that it would be one of the first countries to feed its people against the Corona virus, which resulted in it actually reaching shipments of the vaccine last January, and it started the vaccination process since December 18 last, It has vaccinated more than 2.1 million Israelis so far, making it the highest vaccination rate in the world.
Regarding African countries, a draft of the plan prepared by the African Bank for Export and Import showed that the US company Pfizer will provide 50 million doses at a price of 5.75 euros, equivalent to approximately 50 Moroccan dirhams for African countries, which has not been done until the time of writing these lines.
Moderna without preferential offers
Similar to the Pfizer vaccine, there is the American biotechnology company Moderna, which has an effectiveness rate of 94.5 percent, and consists of a synthetic version of the genetic material for the emerging corona virus, called “messenger RNA” or “mRNA” (mRNA). ), To program a person’s cells to produce many copies of a part of the virus, these copies trigger alarms in the immune system, and stimulate it to attack in the event that the real virus tries to invade, i.e. almost the same as Pfizer, but this virus, unlike the previous vaccine, does not require a very low temperature, As in two doses separated by 4 weeks and transferred at a temperature of minus 20 degrees Celsius (compared to minus 80 degrees Celsius for the Pfizer vaccine), to be stored later in a refrigerator (2 to 8 degrees Celsius) for 30 days.
Moderna, with the support of the US government, reached 650 million euros, or an estimated 7 billion and 258 million dirhams, to develop the development of the Corona pandemic vaccine since last April, in addition to 17 million euros, or the equivalent of 183 million dirhams, from non-profit organizations and organizations.
For its part, the company promised to secure 100 million doses, including 15 million before the end of December for her country until achieving self-sufficiency, and then intends to produce between 500 million and a billion in 2021 thanks to production sites and industrial partners in the United States, Switzerland and Spain.
As for the price of the vaccine for Moderna, which has been working for years on a vaccine that uses RNA technology, which is also approved by the US authorities and the European Commission, it ranges between 25 and 30 euros per dose, which means that its price is greater than “Pfizer” even if it is the same technology. Technological approved.
It is also striking that the European Union will also pay a 20 percent more amount for the American “Moderna” vaccine, as this vaccine was sold in its home country for 15 euros in the United States, and 25 dollars in the European Union.
The draft of the African Bank for Export and Import did not include any paper offers by the American company for African countries, and this makes it completely excluded for the black continent and poor countries, especially since its price is average compared to the rest of the vaccines available.
Johnson’s deferred gift
The American company Johnson & Johnson, for its part, has launched two clinical trials for its vaccine consisting of a modified virus, the first based on giving one dose to the participants, and the second two doses, and it is expected that the vaccine will enter the battle against the Corona epidemic next February, according to what was stated by the senior advisor for the American vaccination program, Munsif Slaoui, before his resignation.
According to experts, adopting the vaccine, which is given in “one dose only”, would protect individuals from the virus within weeks of vaccination, while it would take almost a month for those that come in the form of two doses, such as the “Pfizer” and “Moderna” vaccine, despite Johnson & Johnson was late for its competitors, “Pfizer” and “Moderna”, to launch the vaccine.
However, this vaccine is expected to obtain approval from the US Food and Drug Administration next February, and requests for a license to use it will be submitted in various countries around the world in parallel with their submission in United State.
This vaccine works through the use of a “viral vector”, meaning another, less virulent virus, that is transformed into a part of the virus responsible for Covid-19 disease. The modified virus is introduced into the cells of individuals that in turn produce a typical protein for SARS-Cove-2, which will instruct their immune systems to recognize it.
Regarding its price, Johnson’s company has pledged to sell it at cost, as it does not seek material profits, so that its price is only 8 euros, while the US government funded it with an estimated 688 million euros, or 7 billion and 466 million Moroccan dirhams.
This is before announcing the results of the third phase trials of its vaccine, which will take place next week. We find that the American company has pledged to provide 120 million doses of its vaccine, which requires vaccination with a single dose for African countries for only 8 euros.
AstraZeneca’s Elusive Hope
The English-Swedish vaccine, AstraZeneca, developed by Oxford University, remains the closest to the African continent for several factors. The first is its already known traditional technology, as it relies on a “viral vector”, that is, it is based on another virus that is an adenovirus spread among monkeys, which has been modified and adapted to combat the emerging corona virus. It is the first vaccine that the medical reference journal “The Lancet” approved its results in terms of effectiveness On December 8, the data it published announced that it is “safe”.
The side effects of the vaccine are very rare in the current stage, and it is effective at a rate of 70 percent on average, and the second factor is that it is easy to store, as it requires a temperature between two and eight degrees Celsius, unlike the vaccines Moderna, Biontec and Pfizer, which can only be stored in the long term at very low temperatures.
It reaches 20 degrees below zero for the first vaccine, and 80 degrees below zero for the second vaccine. This facilitates large-scale fertilization.
The third factor is that its cost is minimal and it is the cheapest licensed vaccine, as the price of a single dose ranges between 3.3 and 6 euros, noting that it has received a development period of financing estimated at one billion and 860 million euros, of which 620 million and 153 thousand euros are government funding and one billion and 240 million euros of Non-profit entities.
Despite its low price, African countries have also received another preferential reduction, according to the draft of the African Bank, which stated that the “Serum” Institute will provide 100 million doses of the “AstraZeneca” vaccine to African countries at a price of 3 dollars per dose, which is almost the same price.
Which he brings to the Indian government. This amount is sufficient to vaccinate 50 million on the continent.
The aforementioned vaccine, which was licensed at the beginning of this month and temporarily does not exceed one year, the health authorities in Morocco, after it was the subject of partnership agreements in order to obtain 17 million doses of this vaccine in the first half of the current year, considered by the professor, specialist in virology, the chosen survivor “Without promising results besides the Chinese vaccine Sinopharma,” which has not yet obtained a license from the Moroccan authorities due to “the failure to complete the file and its availability of the necessary documents,” as confirmed by a member of the scientific committee of “Akhbar Al-Youm”.
Al-Naji, speaking to “Akhbar Al-Youm”, said that “Africa and with it Morocco need a significant amount of doses in order to ensure the vaccination of 70 percent of the adult population, which is the number that is necessary to achieve collective immunity against the virus and is recommended by the World Health Organization, which is what prompted Morocco From the beginning, to adopting vaccine diplomacy and diversifying sources of vaccination, in order to overcome any obstacles preventing Moroccans from being vaccinated against the coronavirus, but the reality was unfortunately stronger.
Greed is no longer a sin!
Despite the preferential low-cost prices that the aforementioned laboratories have provided to African countries in their endeavor to vaccinate 60 percent of their 1.3 billion people within the next two or three years in order to achieve some measure of herd immunity, this goal remains elusive for the time being.
In the absence of a vaccine and its collision with the hindrance of the geopolitical conflict that divided the world at the time of the pandemic into two categories; The first is the North countries that are able to acquire the vaccine, even at twice its price or production, and another group includes poor countries that do not have the financial and diplomatic capabilities to achieve the above.
What has deepened the gap between the two worlds and dropped the slogan “The vaccine will save all humanity”, and this is exactly what explains the first group getting the vaccine And the survival of the second category, which includes African and poor countries, on the waiting list, watching a clear deficit.
It seems that when the issue becomes related to life and death, the slogans of international solidarity are quickly abandoned, which is precisely what the current Corona crisis has revealed.
It is noticeable that industrialized countries or major economic powers such as China, the United States and Russia, as well as regional blocs such as the European Union that have allocated billions of dollars to buy vaccines from the United States, Britain, China and Russia, or the money, business and strategic interests such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Israel, have already started campaigns for some time ago.
Vaccination after receiving successive shipments of vaccines at high prices, which makes laboratories and industrialized countries prefer to sell this vaccine to rich countries, seeing the returns on their investments and financial gains first.
And the Director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had sounded the alarm a few days ago, announcing that nearly 2,3 million African citizens, distributed over 45 countries on the continent, face the specter of death at every moment of unequal distribution of the emerging corona virus vaccine.
The African official stressed that it has become difficult on the African continent “to see rich countries benefit from huge quantities of vaccines, while African countries do not get them, especially with the start of the new surge of the virus and a clear rise in the level of infections on the African continent, which reaches a number Population to 1.3 billion people.
The African Public Health Officer stated that while the world is watching the start of mass vaccination operations in Britain and a number of other western countries, African countries may not receive vaccines until the second quarter of 2021.
The African official denounced this unbalanced situation at the level of vaccine distribution in the world, stressing that it left a “moral issue” and prompted the United Nations to hold a special session to discuss the possibility of achieving the fair and ethical distribution of vaccines, and to avoid “further mistrust between the countries of the North and the South.”
The African official stressed that the Covid-19 virus is a global epidemic and all countries are interested in fighting it, and that when Western countries buy large quantities of vaccines that exceed their needs, while African countries do not find a way to achieve their necessary needs of these vaccines, this calls for more doubt about Mechanisms of international cooperation to confront diseases and disasters.
He said that we are striving from within the “Kovacs” organization to activate the multinational initiative to provide some vaccines to the least developed countries in Africa, but “Kovacs” alone cannot provide African countries with more than 60 percent of their needs of the necessary vaccines.
The spokesman added, “It is time to translate words into action, and rich countries that have overdose of vaccines are invited to give them to Kovacs to meet the needs of poor African countries, and to show new dimensions and the reality of global cooperation and international solidarity.”
The African Union fears that the vaccine supplies that will be available through Kovacs in the first half of the year will not be sufficient to meet more than the needs of frontline workers in the health sector in a continent that has recorded more than 3.3 million cases and more than 80 thousand deaths so far.
Kovacs is scheduled to start distributing vaccines to poor and middle-income countries in February, allocating about 600 million doses to Africa this year. The doses agreed by the union are scheduled to start arriving in March.
In the face of the emergence of new strains of the emerging corona virus, especially in South Africa, the countries of the continent are seeking to obtain 270 million doses that the African Union agreed this month to import, and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who holds the presidency of the African Union, said that arrangements have been made with the African Bank to support countries Members wishing to receive vaccinations.
On the other hand, member states will be able to repay the loans in installments over a period of five to seven years, which was not answered by Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, the Indian Serum Institute and AstraZeneca, although the African Union sent requests for comment.
The director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, John Nkengasung, said, “The prices are similar to those offered through the Kovacs program,” indicating that the vaccine market will open in the coming months, when Johnson & Johnson, for example, and other companies enter the market, but the most important thing is Today is the start of the vaccination process.
20 African countries suffer from a significant increase in the death rate, which is higher than the global average, including Sudan by 6 percent, Egypt 5.5 percent, Mali 3.9 percent, Congo 3.1 percent, and South Africa 2.8 percent, and the latter is one of the most countries. Affected in the world, where the new mutated strain of the virus now dominates the number of new cases, which has exhausted the country’s health system, especially with the registration of 1.2 million cases, including 35 thousand deaths.
Margins of the World Health Organization
According to the Africa official at the World Health Organization, the mutated virus from Covid 19 has been detected in three other countries, Botswana, The Gambia and Zambia. “The importance of having a robust genome monitoring system cannot be overemphasized,” he added.
“The huge increase in the number of cases means that we are facing a shortage of oxygen supply and the supply has to be increased to Africa, where medical oxygen is not widely available,” said the director of the Africa CDC.
Nkengasung stressed the importance of getting Covid-19 vaccines in Africa, saying: “We have to do it at the speed of economies in the decline of people dying.”
For his part, the World Health Organization’s regional office called, yesterday, Thursday, for European countries to show more solidarity regarding vaccines, noting that ten countries received 95 per cent of the doses and obstructed the process of supplying other countries with vaccines.
The WHO Regional Director for Europe, Hans Kluge, said in a hypothetical press conference that it is necessary that “all countries able to contribute to grant and support the equitable distribution of vaccines,” referring to the “huge” efforts made by the organization and its partners to ensure that every country has access to vaccines.
The spokesman emphasized that 95 percent of the vaccines against the Corona virus that were given in the world were confined to ten countries; The United States, China, the United Kingdom, Israel, the UAE, Italy, Russia, Germany, Spain and Canada, which hindered dozens of countries with agreed shipments of vaccines.