BRICS vaccine research and development center was officially launched in an online ceremony on Tuesday, taking the five countries a step closer to vaccine joint research, plant co-construction, authorized local production, and recognition of standards.
At the ceremony, the five BRICS countries jointly proposed an initiative to strengthen vaccine cooperation and ensure the accessibility and affordability of vaccines in developing countries through their equitable distribution as a global public good.
The initiative is also aimed at enhancing BRICS countries’ capabilities to control infectious diseases and respond to public health events.
The initiative places a special emphasis on openness and welcomes more partners to join the efforts. The launch of the BRICS vaccine and research center marked a solid step forward in strengthening cooperation on public health and vaccine research and development among BRICS countries.
During the ceremony, the Chinese minister of science and technology Wang Zhigang said that China will work with other BRICS countries to use the center’s launch as an opportunity to promote exchanges and cooperation in vaccine research and development testing.
“China will work with those countries to jointly establish plants and mutual recognition of standards, so as to strengthen defense against covid-19 pandemic and deliver hope and confidence for global economic recovery,” Wang said.
According to reports, China’s vaccine developer Sinovac is leading the Chinese branch of the BRICS vaccine research and development center, joint vaccine development in a bid to increase local production.
Currently, Sinovac has coordinated with Brazil’s state-owned Butantan institute and South Africa’s partner on fruitful covid-19 vaccine development in a bid to increase local production in respective countries
At the ceremony, Brazilian health minister Marcelo Quirog appreciated the cooperation with Sinovac which is a Chinese covid-19 vaccine producer for offering support to their national immunization scheme at the ceremony.
“We look forward to strengthening the relationship that has been built with the BRICS and other countries in future, and expanding into new areas of cooperation”, the CEO of Chinese covid-19 vaccine-maker and producers Sinovac Yin Weidong.
The BRICS countries have been weakened recently by the disputes between two members of China and India who also happened to be neighbors.
Although India had slowly started joining the US camp in the last decade, the events which took place at the border between China and India in June of 2020 where 20 Indian soldiers and 4 Chinese soldiers were killed accelerated it.
India remains in BRICS because it sees the block as another way of gaining an international reputation as a rising great power and the same can be said of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) where India is a member but as we have seen, India likes very much to remain independent on foreign policy decisions as to whether it can succeed, “only the future will tell”.
When the BRICS started a decade ago, many analysts said that it was a counterbalance to EU and other western led organizations but the block is becoming weak due to geopolitical events that have happened in recent years.
Whether the BRICS can survive and become a powerful Bloc remains to be seen although the relations between China and India and India and Russia will be one of the determinant factors.
Can they put aside their geopolitical issues and cooperate together. That remains a big question as it will be a big factor in determining the direction of BRICS countries as a Bloc.