For the West, Russia’s leadership in the creation of a vaccine against the coronavirus has become not just an unpleasant surprise, but a shocking call-out, not only politically but financially as well.
On the one hand, ‘backward, deeply undemocratic Russia’ simply lacks the right to carry out such breakthroughs in complex scientific and technologically advanced fields. On the other, there is a jackpot at stake so astronomical in size that the mere idea that it might elude Western pharmaceutical giants is cause for heartburn. For example, think of what the news of an agreement between Moscow and Delhi on the supply of a hundred million doses of Sputnik-V to India alone is worth.
It’s not surprising that Russia has faced numerous attempts to discredit the results of the work of its scientists: big politics means big money.
However, next to the sharks one will always find sucker fish, who regularly get a snack from their masters’ dinner. That’s exactly what happened when the results of Sputnik-V testing were announced by The Lancet, one of the oldest and most prestigious medical journals in the world.
The article was torn apart by critics with lighting speed. The ‘loudest’ of these criticisms spread by world media was the open letter by Enrico Bucci, a biology professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, who expressed fears about the mistakes ‘possibly made by Russian researchers’. Bucci’s letter received the support of over two dozen other Western scientists.