The Russian Gamble
BY: Aaron Anandji
As the pandemic continues, countries are rushing to create a COVID-19 vaccine. Normally it takes between 10 to 15 years to safely approve vaccines. However, Russia sidestepped the red tape and sped their vaccine to the finish line. Testing only 76 people before declaring the therapeutic safe, Russia has decided to take a gamble. Already, the vaccine has received well over 1 billion requests from foreign nations. Russian President Vladimir Putin is personally invested in the vaccine’s outcome; he volunteered his daughter for testing.
This move is an ambitious gamble. If it pays off, Russia will reap huge economic boons from warding off the pandemic. Furthermore, the vaccine developed by the Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology can be distributed first, ensuring the Russian company an enormous payday. But if this vaccine escapade backfires, it could leave Russia particularly vulnerable. The potential side effects of the vaccine are just the beginning. There is also the danger that the inoculated population will begin to disregard the pandemic. And that could be disastrous if the vaccine turns out to be botched.
Despite this, many foreign countries are eager to try the vaccine. 20 countries have expressed interest, and the number continues to grow.
Other vaccines are still a ways away from completion. Many of them have condensed their timelines from 10-15 years to 12-18 months. But Russia has taken it a step further.
However, the medical field remains extremely skeptical. After all, it is taboo to gamble with human lives. To doctors and researchers, choosing the economy over public safety is blasphemy.
On the flip side, there is a chance that the Russian Government’s plan succeeds. What then? Will it really matter that they ignored conventional ethics if it pays off? That remains to be seen. Either way, Russia has taken an unprecedented risk. And it will either pay dividends, or fail miserably.
*All arguments made and viewpoints expressed within Youth In Politics and its nominal entities do not necessarily reflect the views of the writers or the organization as a whole.
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