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Is western scepticism of the Russian and Chinese vaccines fair?

Data and transparency have been lacking. But non-western vaccines could yet play a crucial global role

By Philip Ball  

JL / Alamy Stock Photo

The World Health Organisation has just approved one of the Covid-19 vaccines developed in China under “emergency use” regulations, opening the way to its wide-scale use in lower-income countries. With the gap in vaccine availability in high- and low-income countries becoming all too painfully apparent, this looks like good news. But what do we know about the vaccines developed outside the west, in China and Russia?

Merely to ask the question invites accusations of western bias. Why shouldn’t those other vaccines be every bit as good as those made by the likes of Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson…

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