Tag Archives: U.S.

EU €63M Remdesivir contract with U.S.Gilead

#COVID19 European Commission has signed a contract with the pharmaceutical company Gilead on July 28 to secure treatment doses of Veklury, the brand name for Remdesivir. The medicine Remdesivir, sold under the brand name Veklury, is a broad-spectrum antiviral medication developed by the California biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences Inc. It is administered via injection into a vein.

As from early August onwards, and in order to meet immediate needs, batches of Veklury will be made available to Member States and the UK, with the coordination and support of the Commission. The Commission’s Emergency Support Instrument will finance the contract, worth a total of €63 million, the European Commission announced the day after.

«This will ensure the treatment of approximately 30,000 patients presenting severe COVID-19 symptoms. This will help to cover the current needs over the next few months, while ensuring a fair distribution at EU level, based on an allocation key, taking into account the advice from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. The Commission is now also preparing a joint procurement for further supplies of the medicine, expected to cover additional needs and supplies as from October onwards» the Commission spokesperson announced.

A contract has been signed yesterday, less than a month after the authorisation of Remdesivir, which will allow the delivery of treatments from early August for thousands of patients” Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said. “The Commission is leaving no stone unturned in its efforts to secure access to safe and efficient treatments, and is supporting the development of vaccines against coronavirus. Yesterday’s agreement is another important step forward in our fight to overcome this disease” she added.

«Remdesivir is not a cure. Worse, it causes kidney failure: out of the first 5 patients treated with this drug at Bichat @APHSP hospital [39 hospials + 6 univeristy groups in France], 2 were put on dialysis. When will we have the results of Discovery? What is the WHO waiting for to react? » wrote on his Twitter micro blog Professor Didier Raoult, the Director of IHU Mediterranean Infection, Marseille, France, – the unique Institute based on University hosptial, devoted to infectious and tropical deseases, and also the microbiological research in the field.

Borrell: U.S. sanctions contrary to international law

“I am deeply concerned at the growing use of sanctions, or the threat of sanctions, by the United States against European companies and interests. We have witnessed this developing trend in the cases of Iran, Cuba, the International Criminal Court and most recently the Nordstream 2 and Turkstream projects” reads the statement of the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell.

“As a matter of principle the European Union opposes the use of sanctions by third countries on European companies carrying out legitimate business. Moreover, it considers the extraterritorial application of sanctions to be contrary to international law. European policies should be determined here in Europe not by third countries.

“Where common foreign and security policy goals are shared, there is great value in the coordination of targeted sanctions with partners. We have seen many positive examples of this and will continue to coordinate where we can. Where policy differences exist, the European Union is always open to dialogue. But this cannot take place against the threat of sanctions.

Russian defense reporter accused of espionage

The arrest of former journalist has caused major outcry among independent media outlets in Russia. Ivan Safronov, accused of spying for the Czech Republic and the United States, was arrested on July 7 by Russia’s security service, the FSB, which has accused him of state treason, the charges foreseing prison sententse from 12 up to 20 years.

Until two months ago, Safronov was a reporter covering Russia’s defense and space industries for a leading state newspaper, Vedomosti, having spent a decade covering the same subject for Kommersant newspaper. Since May, he has been a communications adviser for the head of Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos.

Safronov’s lawyer told reporters on July 7 the FSB accuses him of passing secret information to Czech intelligence about Russian arms supplies to Africa and military activities in the Middle East. A Moscow court ordered his arrest for two months in pretrial detention in the city’s Lefortovo jail.

Former colleagues and journalists from other publications protested against his arrest outside FSB headquarters in Moscow on July 7, and more than two dozen were detained by police. Three of Russia’s top news outlets, including his two former papers, published protests prominently on their sites, saying the arrest was intended to discourage the objective reporting in Russia.

Kommersant, where Safronov worked for a decade, wrote that the accusations seemed “absurd” and called him a “patriot.” Another leading outlet, RBC, wrote that his arrest was “a signal” to Russian media and society to avoid casting light on shady activities of powerfl groups of people.

Treason cases are classified, meaning Safronov’s trial will be held behind closed doors as even the charges brought against him are likely to remain obscure.

Ivan Pavlov, the lawyer, who defends Safronov at Court, told reporters the FSB alleges his client was recruited in 2012 by Czech intelligence and in 2017 allegedly was given the task of passing along intelligence about the arms deliveries and military operations. That information allegedly was shared with the United States, added Pavlov, who told reporters materials for the case filled seven volumes, suggesting the FSB had been building a case against Safronov for quite some time.

The Czech Foreign ministry on July 8 declined to comment.

Safronov, 30, is known as for breaking stories on Russia’s defense sector and had worked in the Kremlin media pool, which travels with President Putin. Last year, he repeatedly was interrogated by the FSB over an article he wrote about the sale of Russian warplanes to Egypt.

U.S. calls China to ban wildlife markets

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the United States has called on China to permanently close its wildlife wet markets, citing links between those markets and zoonotic diseases. All together around 200 diseases, listed by World Health Organisation (WHO) incluing COVID-19, Ebola, Zika, plague, rabies, and many others.

https://twitter.com/reuters/status/1253258612299923458?s=21

The new coronavirus is believed to have emerged in a market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. It has spread around the world killing over 180,000 people and infecting over 2.6 million.

https://twitter.com/mothershipsg/status/1253153087608385538?s=21

“Given the strong link between illegal wildlife sold in wet markets and zoonotic diseases, the United States has called on the People’s Republic of China to permanently close its wildlife wet markets and all markets that sell illegal wildlife,” Pompeo said in a statement late on April 22.

Chinese wet markets trade in various animals, including wild or exotic, those have been linked to outbreaks of zoonotic diseases. 

One of many such places has been Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, believed to have played a fatal role in the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, although investigations into whether the virus originated from non-market sources are ongoing as of April 2020. 

Wet markets were banned from holding wildlife in China in 2003, after the 2002–2004 SARS outbreak which was directly tied to those dangerous practices of selling and consuming wildlife. Such regulations were lifted before being put into place again in 2020, with other countries proposing similar bans. The visitors of the markets buy wildlife not only for food, but also for the other types of consumption as manufacturing traditional medicines, which are integral part of modern Chinese culture.