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US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci (Bloomberg)
US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci (Bloomberg)

US says unlikely to use China, Russia Covid-19 vaccine as race heats up

'Claims of having a vaccine ready to distribute before you do testing, I think, is problematic, at best,' says US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci

America's top infectious diseases official has raised concerns over the safety of COVID-19 vaccines being developed by China and Russia as the world scrambles for answers to a pandemic the WHO warned will be felt for decades.

Six months after the World Health Organization declared a global emergency, the novel coronavirus has killed at least 679,000 people and infected at least 17.9 million, according to an AFP tally.

As countries across Western Europe announced new lockdowns and reported historic economic slumps, the UN health body said the pandemic was a "once-in-a-century" crisis and its fallout would be felt for decades.

Several Chinese companies are at the forefront of the race to develop an immunity to the disease and Russia has set a target date of September to roll out its own vaccine.

But US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said it was unlikely his country would use any vaccine developed in either country, where regulatory systems are far more opaque than they are in the West.

"I do hope that the Chinese and the Russians are actually testing the vaccine before they are administering the vaccine to anyone," he told a US Congressional hearing on Friday.

"Claims of having a vaccine ready to distribute before you do testing, I think, is problematic, at best."

As part of its own "Operation Warp Speed," the US government will pay pharma giants Sanofi and GSK up to $2.1 billion for the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, the companies said.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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