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Monday, June 8, 2020

June 08, 2020

London embassy alters transcript of bombshell remarks

The Chinese ambassador to London has been ‘censored’ by his own embassy after claiming his country had produced a vaccine which was ready for use.

Liu Xiaoming stunned a meeting of British business figures by saying China was ‘advanced in terms of research on a vaccine’.

He added: ‘We are at the fourth phase of the process. We want to make this available to the world.’

Representatives from international drugs companies who were participating in the ‘webinar’ were astonished by the comments.

Phase four of a vaccine trial means it is ready to be rolled out to the wider population.

Beijing is sensitive to suggestions that it might be further ahead than Western countries in the search for a vaccine because it deliberately delayed telling the world the full extent of the virus’s spread in Wuhan at the end of 2019.

But when this newspaper approached the Chinese embassy about the ambassador’s remarks – in English, and clearly audible on a recording heard by The Mail on Sunday – the diplomats sent us a link to their own transcript, which had altered his words to ‘second phase’.

Phase two of a vaccine trial is when it is still being tested on humans.

In other remarks in the meeting at the end of last month, the ambassador said: ‘We want the vaccine to be available and accessible to poorer and less developed countries. We always believed that Covid-19 has brought the world together. We believe in a shared future for mankind.’

Boris Johnson opened a UK-hosted vaccine summit last week, during which he appealed for £6 billion in contributions to immunise 300 million children within five years.

The Prime Minister told the virtual summit: ‘To defeat the coronavirus, we must focus our collective ingenuity on the search for a vaccine and ensure that countries, pharmaceutical companies and international partners – like the World Health Organisation – co-operate on a scale beyond anything we have seen before.’

US President Donald Trump told the summit that Covid-19 was ‘mean and nasty’ and vowed: ‘We are all going to take care of it together.’

British work on a vaccine is being led by scientists at Oxford University, who are also developing antibody tests to pave the way for so-called ‘immunity passports’ for those who have already been infected.

The teams at the university’s Jenner Institute and the Oxford Vaccine Group joined China and the US in starting human trials on April 23, with hundreds of Britons being given the experimental jab.

Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford, who is leading the work, hopes the first indications about whether it is effective will emerge by the end of this month.

The news comes as the MoS has obtained more evidence of slack safety standards by bat researchers in Wuhan.

Pictures from a month-long expedition by graduate students at the city’s university last summer into ‘habitat survey, predator net catching, field behaviour experiment, and sample collection’ show the researchers picking up bats with their bare hands and shunning protective equipment.

Many experts believe this is the most likely explanation for the jump in the virus from bat to human – the animal’s infected blood or faeces being transmitted to a virus researcher through cuts in their skin or via inhalation.

A Chinese embassy spokesman said: ‘We are in the second phase. China has conducted clinical experiments on five potential vaccines.’



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