President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia had approved the worlds first #Covid-19 vaccine as dozens of other countries are still struggling to crack the code of this complex viral disease that broke out early February.
Russia has named the Vaccine “Sputnik V” .
A registration certificate on the Russian Health Ministry website notes that the vaccine will enter civilian circulation on Jan. 1, 2021.
Tatyana Golikova, a deputy prime minister in charge of health issues, said officials hoped that vaccinations of medical workers could begin by late August or early September.
Who Made the Vaccine?
According to Kremlin, the state-run Gamaleya Research Institute in Moscow in coordination with the Russian Defense Ministry and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and its partners have invested 4 billion rubles ($550,000) in the project.
The vaccine underwent two phases of trials in June and July: The first involving 38 civilians and 38 military volunteers and the second involving 100 people.
Phase 3 trials, which will involve several thousand participants, began with the shot’s registration Tuesday. They will also be carried out in countries including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the Philippines, according to RDIF head Kirill Dmitriyev.
The World Health Organization (WHO)’s overview from on July 31 lists the vaccine as still being in Phase 1.
This Is How it Works
Russian scientists said that the vaccine is a so-called viral vector vaccine, meaning it employs another virus to deliver small parts of a pathogen and stimulate an immune response.
It is an injection solution based on the adenovirus, the common cold. China’s CanSino is developing a similar technology with its coronavirus vaccine prototype.
Gamaleya chief Alexander Gintsburg and the institute’s scientists have inoculated themselves with the vaccine. Experts criticised their move as an unorthodox and rushed way of starting human trials.
Dmitriyev has said he and his family have also taken the vaccine.
Putin said Tuesday that one of his daughters, whose identity he has neither confirmed nor denied to date, has already taken the vaccine. He said the only side effect she experienced was a high temperature of 38 degrees Celsius for one day.
“Several hundred” members of Russia’s political and business elite may have been inoculated with the experimental vaccine as early as April, Bloomberg reported in July. Some participants reported experiencing fever and muscle aches after receiving the shots, while one unnamed top executive said he had no side effects.
Fears of Safety Addressed
Vaccine developers tout the vaccine as safe and Putin on Tuesday said it is “quite effective” and “gives sustainable immunity,” citing his daughter’s response to the shot.
However, Scientists in the West have raised concerns over the speed of development of Russian vaccines, suggesting that researchers might be cutting corners after coming under pressure from the authorities to deliver.
Russian virologists have also warned that the vaccine could be dangerous for people who have antibodies against the virus.
Meanwhile, World Health Organisation last week urged Russia to follow established guidelines and go “through all the stages” necessary to develop a safe vaccine. On Tuesday, it said a stamp of approval on the vaccine candidate would require a rigorous safety review of trial data.
Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said clinical trials involving several thousand participants would continue.
RDIF’s head Dmitriyev said a mass vaccination campaign will begin among volunteers in Russia in October, a month after industrial production is expected to launch. Twenty countries have pre-ordered more than 1 billion doses, he said.
sourced from The Moscowtimes