China has given North Korean leader Kim Jong-un an experimental coronavirus vaccine, a US analyst claims, citing two unidentified Japanese intelligence sources.
Harry Kazianis, a North Korean expert at the Center for the National Interest think tank in Washington, said members of the Kim family and several senior North Korean officials had also been vaccinated.
It was unclear which company had supplied its drug candidate and whether it had been proven safe, he added.
Referring to US medical scientist Peter J. Hotez, he said at least three Chinese companies were developing a coronavirus vaccine, including Sinovac Biotech Ltd, CanSinoBio and Sinophram Group.
“Kim Jong-un and several other senior officials within the Kim Family and Leadership Network have been vaccinated against the coronavirus in the past two to three weeks thanks to a vaccine candidate provided by the Chinese government,” Kazianis wrote in an article online. socket 19FortyFive.
Sinophram says its candidate has been used by nearly a million people in China, although none of the companies were known to publicly launch phase 3 clinical trials of their experimental Covid-19 drugs.
Some experts doubted Kim would use an experimental vaccine.
“Even if a Chinese vaccine had already been approved, no drug is perfect and he wouldn’t take that risk if he has numerous hiding places that can provide almost complete isolation,” said Choi Jung-hun, an expert in the field. infectious diseases that spilled over from North Korea. to the south in 2012.
Mark Barry, an East Asian analyst and associate editor of the International Journal on World Peace, said Kim would prefer proven European vaccines to a vaccine supplied by Beijing.
“The risk is too great. But he is happy with Chinese personal protective equipment,” Barry said on Twitter.
North Korea has not confirmed coronavirus infections, but South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) has said an outbreak there cannot be ruled out as the country had trade and people-to-people exchanges with China – the source of the pandemic – before it closed. the border at the end of January.
Microsoft said last month that two North Korean hacking groups had attempted to break into the network of vaccine developers in multiple countries, without specifying which companies were targeted.
Sources claim they include British drug manufacturer AstraZeneca.
The NOS said last week it had thwarted North Korea’s attempts to hack South Korean Covid-19 vaccine makers.