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Coronavirus shock: How Huawei could profit from a successful virus vaccine

The Chinese telecommunications company has recently faced a UK government ban – meaning it will not be able to supply 5G kit to the British 5G network from December 31. The company has also faced bans in the US, after Washington said it viewed Huawei as a security risk linked to the Chinese government.

However, an investigation by the Wall Street Journal has revealed Huawei could profit from an Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine trial, due to a chain of stock ownership.

Two leading researchers involved in Oxford’s vaccine development, Sarah Gilbert and Adrian Hill, have formed their own company, Vaccitech.

Analysts say Vaccitech’s technology is a key part of the Oxford vaccine, and if coronavirus turns out to be a recurring and common disease, the company could make money.

The largest shareholder of Vaccitech is a company called Oxford Sciences Innovation – of which Huawei owns a 0.7 percent stake.

Other companies to have made investments into Oxford Sciences Innovation include GV – a company owned by Google – and Chinese drug firm Fosun Pharma, according to the Times.

Some observers have, however, noted any return to Huawei on a 0.7 percent stake on 46 percent shareholding would be small.

John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford, has said “there is some money to be made” if COVID-19 becomes a common virus requiring repeated vaccinations.

Last month, Oxford announced a positive result after initial trials of its vaccine on over a thousand Britons.

READ: Help to buy scheme extended due to coronavirus

In other coronavirus news, two new tests in the UK which can detect the virus and the flu and deliver a result within 90 minutes are due to be available in hospitals and care homes by next week.

The government announced plans to roll out the two new tests yesterday.

In addition to a relatively quick result, the tests will also be able to distinguish between COVID-19 and other seasonal illnesses such as the flu.

It is thought the tests will help strengthen the UK’s response to coronavirus over the winter.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the new tests would be able to help “break chains of transmission quickly.”

He added: “The fact these tests can detect fly as well as COVID-19 will be hugely beneficial as we head into winter, so patients can follow the right advice to protect themselves and others.”

Concerns have been raised previously that a ‘second wave’ of coronavirus in the winter could result in even more coronavirus deaths than the first.

In a July report requested by the UK’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, scientists warned there could be between 24,500 and 251,000 virus-related deaths in UK hospitals alone in a worst-case scenario.

These deaths would peak around January and February, the scientists said.



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