In the global race to make a coronavirus vaccine, a state-owned Chinese company is boasting that its employees, including top executives, received experimental shots even before the government approved testing in people, the AP reports. "Giving a helping hand in forging the sword of victory," reads an online post from SinoPharm with pictures of company leaders it says helped "pre-test" its vaccine. Whether it's viewed as heroic sacrifice or a violation of international ethical norms, the claim underscores the enormous stakes as China competes with US and British companies to be the first with a vaccine to help end the pandemic. "Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is the new Holy Grail," said Lawrence Gostin, a global public health law expert at Georgetown University.
"The political competition to be the first is no less consequential than the race for the moon between the United States and Russia." China has positioned itself to be a strong contender. Eight of the nearly two dozen potential vaccines in various stages of human testing worldwide are from China, the most of any country. And SinoPharm and another Chinese company already have announced they're entering final testing. Both China and SinoPharm have invested heavily in a tried-and-true technology — an "inactivated" vaccine made by growing the whole virus in a lab and then killing it, which is how polio shots are made. Leading Western competitors use newer, less proven technology to target the "spike" protein that coats the virus. Click for the full story. (Or read about a related accusation against Russia.)