Drug-Makers to Follow Scientific Standards for COVID-19 Vaccine


Nine leading American and European drug-makers promised to follow scientific standards in the race to develop an effective coronavirus vaccine.


The companies, including Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca, made the promise after concerns were raised that safety standards might decline in the attempt to find a vaccine.


The companies said in a statement they would “uphold the integrity of the scientific process.”


Other companies that signed the agreement included Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co, Moderna, Novavax , Sanofi and BioNTech.


Ugur Sahin is head of BioNTech in Germany. He said “We want it to be known that also in the current situation we are not willing to compromise safety and efficacy.”

Ugur Sahinは、ドイツのBioNTechの責任者です。彼は、「現在の状況においても、安全性と有効性を妥協するつもりはないことを知ってもらいたい」と述べた。

The promise to play by established rules comes at a time of highly politicized debate. The debate is over what actions are needed to quickly control COVID-19 and increase international business and trade.


Governments race to approve vaccines


Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that Russia had become the first country to approve a vaccine for COVID-19. But some scientists question whether its quick approval will lead to a safe vaccine.


The head of China’s Sinovac Biotech has also said most of its employees and their families have already taken an experimental vaccine. The vaccine, developed by the Chinese company, is part of the country’s emergency-use program.


Chinese companies and organizations which are involved in developing COVID-19 vaccines did not sign the agreement.


Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said COVID-19 vaccines could be approved by the Food and Drug Administration just days before the November 3 presidential election.


The announcement followed comments from President Donald Trump suggesting that the U.S. may have a vaccine before the election. Senator Kamala Harris, the Democratic Party’s vice presidential nominee, said she would not take Trump’s word alone on any possible coronavirus vaccine.


The drug-makers say approval for a COVID-19 vaccine must be based on trials of large groups of people from different ages, races and ethnic groups.


The trials must compare similar groups that do not receive the vaccine in question. People taking part in the trial must not know which group they belong to.


BioNTech’s Sahin said there must be statistical certainty of 95 percent – and in some cases higher – from the trials to show a positive result.


Michael Scholl is the chief executive of German vaccine developer Leukocare, which did not sign the promise. He said, “My biggest fear is that we will approve vaccines that are not safe.” He noted that an unsafe vaccine will hurt the idea of vaccinations in general.

Michael Schollは、約束に署名しなかったドイツのワクチン開発者Leukocareの最高経営責任者です。 「私の最大の恐怖は、安全ではないワクチンを承認することです。」と彼は言いました。彼は、安全でないワクチンは一般的に予防接種の考えを傷つけるだろうと述べました。

I’m John Russell.

Ludwig Burger, Patricia Weiss, and Caroline Copley reported on this story for Reuters. John Russell adapted it for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

Big Drop in Vaping Among American Students



A U.S. government study has found that vaping rates among young students fell sharply this year. The drop comes after last year’s sudden increase in vaping-related illnesses and deaths.

The national survey, released this week, showed that just under 20 percent of high school students said they were recent users of e-cigarettes and other vaping products. Just 5 percent of middle school students said they had recently used them.

That marks a big decrease from a similar survey in 2019. The earlier survey found nearly 28 percent of high school students and 11 percent of middle school students had recently vaped.

The 2020 survey was carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in partnership with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

About 20,000 American students took part in the survey from mid-January to mid-March. They were asked about the use of any vaping or tobacco products during the past month.

While the number of students smoking cigarettes has reached all-time lows in recent years, the use of vaping products has exploded. Officials say the vaping increase was linked to popular e-cigarettes, like those made by Juul Labs of San Francisco.

Earlier this year, the FDA barred some flavors from vaping devices mainly used by minors. And federal law now bans sales of all tobacco products and e-cigarettes to anyone under age 21.

Public health experts have wondered if last year’s sudden increase in vaping related illnesses may have caused some students to give up vaping. Most of the cases happened in August and September. By year’s end, more than 2,600 illnesses and close to 60 deaths had been reported.

Most of those who got sick said they had vaped mixtures containing THC. That is the substance in marijuana that produces a high. Health officials eventually centered their investigation on these THC products and on a chemical compound called vitamin E acetate, which had been added to some THC vaping liquids.

Matt Myers of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids said in a statement the survey showed a “meaningful drop” in teen vaping. But he criticized the Trump administration for not following through on a promise to ban all flavored e-cigarettes. The policy did not cover disposable e-cigarettes, which saw a big increase in this year’s survey.

“As long as any flavored e-cigarettes are left on the market, kids will get their hands on them and we will not solve this crisis,” Myers said.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

The Associated Press reported this story. Hai Do adapted the story for Learning English. Bryan Lynn was the editor.

Memorandum (3)

On the other hand, the American Government, always holding fast to theories in disregard of realities, and refusing to yield an inch on its impractical principles, caused undue delay in the negotiation. It is difficult to understand this attitude of the American Government and the Japanese Government desires to call the attention of the American Government especially to the following points:

1. The American Government advocates in the name of world peace those principles favorable to it and urges upon the Japanese Government the acceptance thereof. The peace of the world may be brought about only by discovering a mutually acceptable formula through recognition of the reality of the situation and mutual appreciation of one another’s position. An attitude such as ignores realities and imposes one’s selfish views upon others will scarcely serve the purpose of facilitating the consummation of negotiations.

Of the various principles put forward by the American Government as a basis of the Japanese-American Agreement, there are some which the Japanese Government is ready to accept in principle, but in, view of the world’s actual conditions, it seems only a utopian ideal n the part of the American Government to attempt to force their immediate adoption.

Again, the proposal to conclude a multilateral non-aggression pact between Japan, United States, Great Britain, China, the Soviet Union, the Netherlands and Thailand, which is patterned after the old concept of collective security, is far removed from the realities of East Asia.

2. The American proposal contained a stipulation which states-“Both Governments will agree that no agreement, which either has concluded with any third power or powers, shall be interpreted by it in such a way as to conflict with the fundamental purpose of this agreement, the establishment and preservation of peace throughout the Pacific area.” It is presumed that the above provision has been proposed with a view to restrain Japan from fulfilling its obligations under the Tripartite Pact when the United States participates in the War in Europe, and, as such, it cannot be accepted by the Japanese Government.

The American Government, obsessed with its own views and opinions, may be said to be scheming for the extension of the war. While it seeks, on the one hand, to secure its rear by stabilizing the Pacific Area, it is engaged, on the other hand, in aiding Great Britain and preparing to attack, in the name of self-defense, Germany and Italy, two Powers that are striving to establish a new order in Europe. Such a policy is totally at variance with the many principles upon which the American Government proposes to found the stability of the Pacific Area through peaceful means.

3. Whereas the American Government, under the principles it rigidly upholds, objects to settle international issues through military pressure, it is exercising in conjunction with Great Britain and other nations pressure by economic power. Recourse to such pressure as a means of dealing with international relations should be condemned as it is at times more inhumane than military pressure.

4.. It is impossible not to reach the conclusion that the American Government desires to maintain and strengthen, in coalition with Great Britain and other Powers, its dominant position it has hitherto occupied not only in China but in other areas of East Asia. It is a fact of history that the countries of East Asia for the past hundred years or more have been compelled to observe the status quo under the Anglo-American policy of imperialistic exploitation and to sacrifice themselves to the prosperity of the two nations. The Japanese Government cannot tolerate the perpetuation of such a situation since it directly runs counter to Japan’s fundamental policy to enable all nations to enjoy each its proper place in the world.