Coronavirus News Asia

EU best choice to lead Covid-19 probe in China

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Currently there is mounting international pressure for an independent investigation into the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Chinese government has not yet expressed interest in cooperating, especially in view of increasing Sino-US tensions, but were the United Nations and European Union (EU) to play active roles in such an inquiry, it could help ensure the objectivity of the process and be more amenable for Beijing.

Also, this would not be the first time the EU has called for an investigation into a pandemic. During the 2009 swine flu outbreak, the EU conducted an investigation into suspicions of the World Health Organization (WHO) colluding with Big Pharma and scientists to manufacture a “false pandemic.”

Undue influence at WHO

Spearheaded by Dr Wolfgang Wodarg, chairman of the Health Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the inquiry stated that “in order to promote their patented drugs and vaccines against flu, pharmaceutical companies influenced scientists and official agencies responsible for public health standards to alarm governments worldwide and make them squander tight health resources for inefficient vaccines strategies, and needlessly expose millions of healthy people to the risk of an unknown amount of side-effects of insufficiently tested vaccines.”

The WHO, then under director-general Margaret Chan of China (2007-2017), in April 2009 changed the criteria for a pandemic from “an enormous amount of people have contracted the illness or died” to stating simply that to meet the definition there had to be a virus that spread beyond borders to which people have no immunity.

As a result of classifying the swine flu – which actually had pig, bird and human strains combined – as a pandemic during the initial clustered outbreak, nations were compelled to implement pandemic plans and purchase swine-flu vaccines. 

Governments have sealed contracts with vaccine producers where they secure orders in advance and assume all responsibility, and once the WHO declares a pandemic they activate the contracts.

However, in the 2009 pandemic, there were substantially fewer cases than projected, and governments ended up with vast stockpiles of vaccines. For instance, Britain had more than 20 million doses of surplus vaccines from GlaskoSmithKline and Baxter, which the European Council blamed on the undue influence of Big Pharma on WHO policy.  

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