Covid-19 and Semi-Periphery

Argentina and the Global Vaccines Research and Development

  • Daniel Blinder National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET)
  • Lautaro Zubeldía National University of José Clemente Paz
  • Sofya Surtayeva National University of San Martín
Keywords: geopolitics, semi-periphery, global value chains, vaccines, Covid-19, Big Pharma


The  SARS-CoV-2 pandemic  has disturbed the order of the world-system. While central countries—through their pharmaceutical multinationals—focused on the development of  vaccines, semi-peripheral and peripheral countries fulfill another role, either by offering an environment for trials, or by inserting themselves in the hierarchical global order as a hub for research, development, or production of the candidate vaccines. This paper focuses on the analysis of the geopolitics of the world-system regarding production and participation in the clinical trials of vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 of Oxford University-AstraZeneca, BioNTech-Pfizer, and Sinopharm in Argentina. This is a case analysis of the Argentine semi-peripheral context, the local and global pharmaceutical industry, and the geopolitical order. We conclude that Argentina, which has scientific and industrial capabilities to manufacture vaccines, has joined in global value chains on the dependence side, deepening the scientific and technological gap vis-à-vis the central countries.

Author Biographies

Daniel Blinder, National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET)

Daniel Blinder is a political scientist, researcher at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET), and professor at the National University of José Clemente Paz, Argentina, specializing in International Relations and Geopolitics of technology, Space Policy, and National Defense.

Lautaro Zubeldía, National University of José Clemente Paz

Lautaro Zubeldia-Brenner is a molecular biologist, researcher at the José Babini Center for the Study of History of Science and Technology of National University of San Martín, Argentina, and professor at National University of José Clemente Paz, specializing in science and technology management, vaccine and medicine industry and public health.

Sofya Surtayeva, National University of San Martín

Sofya Surtayeva is researcher at the José Babini Center for the Study of History of Science and Technology, National University of San Martín, Argentina. She specializes in Latin American Science and Technology Policy


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How to Cite
Blinder, D., Zubeldía, L., & Surtayeva, S. (2021). Covid-19 and Semi-Periphery: Argentina and the Global Vaccines Research and Development. Journal of World-Systems Research, 27(2), 494-521.
Research Articles