22:45 GMT30 May 2020
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    The US has accused China of funding and operating hacking cells in an effort to steal its coronavirus vaccine research. According to technology and security analyst Patricia Gorky, the allegation is backhanded, given that the US has itself attempted to profit exclusively from potential COVID-19 treatments.

    “If we think back to how Russiagate started … so much of the animosity and xenophobia against Russia really began with these accusations of Russian hackers at the time,” Gorky told Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear on Monday.

    “Now, the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) of the Department of Homeland Security released what they call a public service announcement - that they want to raise awareness of the threat to COVID-19-related research, and they say that ‘CISA is providing services and information to support the cybersecurity’ of private sector entities that ‘play a critical role in COVID-19 research and response,’” she said.

    In the May 13 announcement, CISA said the FBI is currently investigating the “targeting and compromise of US organizations conducting COVID-19-related research.” Chinese actors have been accused of “attempting to identify and illicitly obtain valuable intellectual property (IP) and public health data related to vaccines, treatments, and testing from networks and personnel affiliated with COVID-19-related research,” according to the agency.

    Over the last few months, the US has also repeatedly accused China of initially mishandling the coronavirus crisis and concealing the severity of its outbreak and death toll.

    “Now, the US is accusing people from China of stealing a coronavirus vaccine,” Gorky told Loud & Clear host John Kiriakou. “I just want to contrast what the Chinese president has said: [Chinese President] Xi Jinping said in April that ‘humanity is a community with a shared future, and only with unity and coordination can we tackle various global risks and challenges.’ And we will compare with the US government. Earlier, the US government was trying to take exclusive rights to a German-made vaccine, but only for the US …  about a month ago, the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] granted Gilead Sciences, [a US] pharmaceutical company, what they call orphan drug status for its antiviral drug remdesivir … what this orphan drug status means is that it's a reserve for treating rare diseases, and it allows them to profit exclusively for seven years from the product,” Gorky noted.

    “So, I think we have to ask yourselves, who is the real threat? Is it who the FBI and CISA is telling us, or is it in fact the rich right here in this country?” Gorky said.

    In mid-March, Germany’s Health Ministry told Reuters that Washington had tried to convince the Tübingen-based CureVac company to develop a vaccine “for the US only.” CureVac denied allegations that the US tried to secure exclusive rights to the vaccine despite claims suggesting otherwise by the company’s main investor and the German government.

    Xi on Monday also pledged $2 billion over two years to help other countries reduce the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on them. In addition, he said that China would support a “comprehensive review” of the COVID-19 pandemic and its origins, which has been called for by the US and its allies.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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