Former ambassadors are suggesting that the Chinese government is preventing an experimental vaccine from getting to Canada.
In May, the federal government signed an accord with Chinese company CanSino Biologics to provide Canada with its vaccines so that Canadian scientists can perform safety trials.
According to the National Post, the drug shipments are now being held by Chinese customs for unspecified reasons, with no indication of when they will allow shipping.
Former Canadian ambassador to China David Mulroney suggests that the vaccine delay might have been purposefully done to punish Canada for the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.
“It’s likely that the shipment is being delayed as part of China’s retaliation against Canada over the Meng (Wanzhou) arrest,” Mulroney told the National Post.
“But it could also be due to the kind of sudden, unexplained delay that routinely happens when you’re dealing with China’s opaque and often uncooperative customs authorities. Either way, it raises the question of why the NRC thought it was a good idea to work with a Chinese partner on such a sensitive project.”
Under the accord, a phase 1 safety trial was supposed to be held at Canadian Centre for Vaccinology at Dalhousie University.
While Canada waits, CanSino has already finished trial phases 1 and 2 in China, published the results and entered into discussion to conduct phase 3 trials in Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Another former ambassador Guy Saint-Jacques also believes the vaccine delay “could well be part of the Chinese arsenal.”
While companies all around the world are working on possible vaccines and treatments for coronavirus, Canada seems committed to CanSino.
Canada has not pre-ordered any vaccines currently being researched and tested by other firms, unlike the United States and some European countries.
The Canada-CanSino deal was heavily criticized at the time, with many noting the fact that China lied about the spread of the coronavirus when it first started.
Last week U.S. firm Moderna began phase 3 trials of its own coronavirus vaccine. Results from phases 1 and 2 show similar results as CanSino’s vaccine.