I. The Big Story: PLA & the Clinical Trials: Fact-Checking
The past several issues of your newsletter have focused on the PLA’s fight with the novel coronavirus. It’s tempting to write on that again, but let’s take a break this time and focus on other activities involving the PLA in and around the East Asian Region.
But let me offer you one small fact check on a recent post claiming China has already found the vaccine for Covid-19 and started testing it on the PLA officials. The post appeared on the Chinese social media on March 5, 2020, ten days before the clinical testing was approved. The post, later, also went viral on Twitter and Facebook. It claimed that a group of postgraduate researchers, Dr Chen Wei and volunteers of the Communist Party received the vaccine. It made many people wonder if the PLA is testing the coronavirus vaccine on themselves.
The People’s Daily re-posted calling it out as fake news, stating that the PLA medics are not testing the vaccine on themselves. “It usually takes a relatively long time for the R&D period of a vaccine, and even clinical trials require multiple phases of experiments before approval,” claimed an expert in the post.